EFEBy Gaspar Ruiz-Canela. Bangkok

Thailand's main tourist attractions remain half empty, although the number of visitors has been gradually increasing since the country opened its borders to fully vaccinated travelers from more than 60 countries this month.

The authorities also took advantage of its pandemic border closures to advocate for a more environmentally sustainable reopening focused on fewer visitors but with greater purchasing power.

Tourism, which until the pandemic accounted for up to 20 percent of the Thai GDP, plummeted from 40 million visitors in 2019 to just 6.7 million in 2020, a drop of more than 80 percent, due to Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Although tourist arrivals are now increasing, iconic landmarks in the capital Bangkok, such as the Grand Palace and the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) remain almost deserted, hurting businesses and workers in the sector but offering some advantages to visitors.

"You can go to places, it's not so crowded, there is access to everything. I think it's quite nice," Mattias Ekstroem, a 40-year-old Swedish tourist, tells Efe.