There are fears that the ambitious plans in Thailand to open new areas to fully vaccinated foreign tourists from 1st October may be too fast for Pattaya.
Main picture Pattaya Beach pre-pandemic credit Ashwani Verma on Unsplash
As new Covid-19 cases finally start to consistently reduce in an outbreak dating back to April, plans were announced for Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Pattaya to reopen from 1st October, hopefully following the Sandbox model piloted in Phuket.
Tourism chiefs in Pattaya are still waiting for confirmation from the Thai government that they will be given permission for a 1st October opening. Last night a government spokesman confirmed the intention to reopen Pattaya in October but did not give final authorisation.
There are also doubts that international tourists will arrive in any number if they do reopen.
“Although more than 40 hotels are taking part in reopening preparations, the question remains whether it will really be viable to resume full business operations.”
“Considering the Covid-19 situation, hotel operators can really only hope to earn income mainly from Thai tourists visiting at weekend and on public holidays, which won’t be enough to cover the costs of operations.” Operators were worried that given Covid, foreign tourists might stay away.”Phisut Sae-khu, President of the Hotels Association in the Eastern Provinces via Bangkok POst
International tourists are seen as being key to tourism businesses in the majority of Thailand. They generally stay longer and spend more than domestic tourists. Many will will traditionally visit multiple locations in Thailand on their trip.
The Pattaya area plan is believed to now consist of two programmes, the already established Chon Buri Move On and the new Pattaya Sandbox.
It is believed however that both will have stricter restrictions that the Phuket Sandbox. The trip start with a direct transfer from Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok to their hotel where they will spend the first three days in hotel quarantine. If they test negative for Covid-19 they will then be allowed to travel on “sealed routes”.
“Under the programmes called Pattaya Sandbox and Chon Buri Move On, foreign tourists will be transferred from the airport to be quarantined for three days at hotels in the two districts and Pattaya,” Mr Phakkhathon said.
“If cleared of Covid-19 infection, they will be allowed to travel more freely in zones and on routes prepared for the reopening programmes.”
Pattaya is not the first area to express doubts of the scheme actually launching as planned. Businesses in Hua Hin have raised concerns about their ability to be ready and willing to reopen in time. There are also concerns on how tourists will actually travel to the area.
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