THAILAND is relaxing their lockdown restrictions, with tourism on the horizon – but only for rich travellers.

The country is partially reducing the lockdown by reopening restaurants, cafes and markets from May 3.

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 Thailand is looking to invite richer travellers when the lockdown ends
Thailand is looking to invite richer travellers when the lockdown endsCredit: Reuters

Dr Thaweesilp Wisanuyothin, spokesperson for Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said this will then be monitored for 14 days to see if the rate of infections increases again.

While the national ban on international travellers remains in place until May 30, Thailand is looking at how to resume tourism.

The priority may be those who can afford longer – and more luxurious – trips to the country.

The head of the tourism ministry, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn told local media they were looking to “attract a specific group of travellers to visit chosen areas”.

This is likely to be the islands, such as Koh Samui and Koh Phangan over the mainland destinations such as Bangkok.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand said they were advertising travellers who stayed for longer holidays and spent more, often staying at four or five star resorts.

 Islands such as Koh Samui are looking at tourists who spend more on luxury holidays than travellers
Islands such as Koh Samui are looking at tourists who spend more on luxury holidays than travellersCredit: Alamy

They explained: “The outbreak allows Thai tourism to shift its focus to quality tourists rather than quantity.”

The islands are also easier to monitor in regard to passengers, meaning incoming travellers can be screened with more “comprehensive prevention measures against the potential import of the virus” due to their limited access points, compared to larger major destinations such as Bangkok and Pattaya.

Thailand is still under nationwide curfew between 10pm and 4am will remain until the state of emergency ends on May 31.

Coronavirus cases are currently at 2,954 cumulative with 54 deaths so far.

Bangkok currently has 1,654 cases, the highest number, followed by Phuket in the south, with 214.

A Russian couple left stranded in Thailand due to the pandemic were found living in a cave for the past month.

The duo were caught by police living amongst the rocks on the coast of Krabi, a popular tourist destination.

With no money coming into many of the tourist attractions, elephants across the country are facing starvation.

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