Bangkok welcomes tourists for quarantine-free holiday

Thailand opened its gates to fully-vaccinated tourists on Monday, welcoming the first wave of visitors in 18 months who will not have to quarantine in a hotel.

German tourist Carlotta Thiris was one of the first to arrive in the capital Bangkok.

"Definitely diving because Koh Tao is just incredible for that and of course the food. The food is insane, so Bangkok street food really surprise(s me because I (had) never had that and I'm very looking forward to that again."

Thailand gave the green light to vaccinated tourists from more than 60 countries, hoping to revive its ravaged tourism economy.

That includes several in northern Europe, where the cold has begun to set in.

Simon Raithel and his friends are visiting from Germany.

"Right now, in Europe as you know it's quite cold, so we decided to go (come) here and it (we) was just, randomly picked the first flight as we saw that it re-open. We just picked this flight and it quite surprise that we are the first flight to arrive in Thailand."

Before the global health crisis began, tourism accounted for more than a tenth of Thailand's GDP.

Bangkok ranked at the top of most-visited cities in the world.

But in early 2020 the government imposed strict entry rules, in the process losing 3 million tourism-dependent jobs as well as an estimated 50 billion US dollars a year in revenue.

Monday wasn't a complete reset yet however.

Tourists will still have to stay at a pre-approved hotel for their first night and test negative upon arrival, before they can freely travel around the country.

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