Bali and Thailand await Chinese tourists' return

STORY: On Sunday, COVID-hit China will be reopening to the world.

A move that promises to unleash a wave of travellers after three years of strict curbs at home.

Southeast Asia is set to be the leading beneficiary because the region steered clear of imposing COVID tests before entry.

Many of its economies rely on tourism, with Chinese formerly making up the bulk of visitors.

In Thailand, business owners are keen to welcome Chinese travellers.

In Thailand, business owners are keen to welcome Chinese travellers, like Pawitch Singha-jinda, a cannabis shop manager.

'I will make preparations by installing a sign in Chinese language and give explanations in the Chinese language. Also, I have this electronic translator to communicate with Chinese people.'

Australia, Britain, India, Japan and the United States are among the nations that require a negative COVID test from inbound Chinese.

But Southeast Asian countries will treat Chinese arrivals like any others.

Thai massage shop owner, Dokchan Gobhuea is eager to work.

"I’m also afraid of COVID, but I still want to work. I’m scared of both COVID and starving. But I still want them to come. I want to have customers."

In Bali, local tourist Haifa Husaira says the government should request tighter restrictions.

"In my opinion, the current COVID situation in China is pretty high and the latest news is that hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID patients. So, it is better for our government to apply tighter restrictions because of that. We should not let Chinese tourists enter the country."

Chair of Bali’s tourism board Ida Bagus Agung Parta said the island will boost its defenses against the virus, as workers take a second booster dose of vaccine this month.