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Before and after scene of Thai popular market as COVID-19 obliterates tourism

Video credit: Newsflare
Published on March 31, 2020 - Duration: 01:39s

Before and after scene of Thai popular market as COVID-19 obliterates tourism

Footage shows one of Bangkok's most popular tourist attractions has been decimated by the coronavirus.

Just a couple of months ago, the Rot Fai Train Night Market was drawing in tens of thousands of holidaymakers every evening.

Crowds would gather in a car park overlooking the bustling market to pose for pictures in front of the colourful patchwork of stall roofs.

But in a sign of how badly the COVID-19 pandemic has hit the country's tourism industry, which accounts for around 15 to 20 per cent of GDP, the area is now empty.

Hundreds of the stalls selling street food, clothes and souvenirs have been packed away with no plans to re-open the market.

Residents said that when the coronavirus began spreading in February, the popular attraction was deserted every night.

''It used to be full until after midnight, the aisles were so crowded it was hard just to walk down them,'' said former stall holder Thida Katrin.

''Then last month when Chinese tourists stopped arriving, it became very quiet.

It wasn't possible to even cover the costs of opening.'' Thailand introduced restrictions on entering the country on March 22 before rolling out a ban on any non-residents crossing the border.

Many non-essential businesses have been closed until April 31, airlines have cancelled flights and several provinces have imposed lockdowns and curfews.

The economy has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic as it is heavily reliant on exports and tourism.

Ministers have pledged a stimulus package worth more than 500 billion baht to try and alleviate the impact of the coronavirus crisis on the economy over the coming months.

Finance minister Uttama Savanayana said the government will inject 400 billion baht into the economy and give cash handout worth 117 billion baht.

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