The first group of 15 Chinese tourists who were stranded on Thailand's Phuket Island after anti-government protests closed down the airport returned to China on Monday morning.
They arrived here at 6 a.m. after being trapped for two days. Protests closed down three airports in southern Thailand last week: Phuket, Hat Yai and Krabi. The airports re-opened on Sunday.
Chen Jianqiu, a manager with China International Travel Service, which arranged the tourists' trip to Phuket, said all members of the tour groups had returned to China, and tourists with other travel agencies were flying back as well.
More than 300 Chinese tourists had been stranded on Phuket.
A tourist surnamed Wang said they were safe in Thailand and their time there wasn't much affected by the protest.
Travel agencies said they would be very cautious about sending travel groups to Thailand in the short term.
(Xinhua News Agency September 2, 2008)