Most February evenings, it’s a struggle to push through the crowds to get to Yanakawee Srialam’s souvenir stall in Bangkok’s Ratchada Train night market. It’s peak tourism season and the market’s alleyways would normally be heaving with visitors.
But Chinese tourists, the vast majority of Srialam’s usual customers, have all but disappeared. His best-selling items now include disposable face masks, which have surpassed sales of souvenirs such as pad Thai fridge magnets.
China has stopped all outbound tour groups from leaving the country in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus and encouraged citizens to reconsider travelling abroad.