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Tourists fly out of Thailand

Many Swiss tourists stranded in Thailand owing to the anti-government blockade of Bangkok's airport have been flown home or are scheduled to fly in the coming days.

A first flight with nearly 200 passengers on board arrived in Zurich on Sunday. The Swiss aircraft received approval to use Bangkok's military airport.

Another chartered flight departed Chiang Mai on Monday for Switzerland and landed in the early evening in Zurich. A second departure from the northern Thai town is planned for Tuesday.

More than 100 Swiss tourists have informed the travel agency, Globetrotter, that they would like to return home this week as well, but the company has not said whether a plane would be chartered to grant them their wish.

Industry officials said travellers who did not book their flights through an agency may have a longer wait since there may be no room for them on the planes chartered by tour operators.

The Swiss foreign ministry is advising citizens not to travel to Thailand.

Tens of thousands of tourists from around the world have been grounded in southeast Asia since members of the People's Alliance for Democracy movement invaded Bangkok airport last week crippling the tourism industry during the peak end-of-year season.