Still struggling under the weight of martial law imposed in May by generals who subsequently overthrew the elected government, Thailand is trying to attract its biggest cohort of tourists: mainland Chinese. The ruling junta is offering travelers from China free visas, a savings of $30. The southeast nation has seen a sharp decline in the key tourism industry, as skittish foreigners shy away. Citizens of the People’s Republic of China are Thailand’s biggest visitor group—but are also the group that defected en masse after the coup d’etat. The Chinese are increasingly mobile amid their nation’s prosperity. The question now is whether saving 30 bucks will persuade them to return to Thailand, where hoteliers report only half their rooms are filled.
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