Pattaya sees big tourism growth, but mostly domestic

PHOTO: Pictured - not what's available with Pattaya tourism now. (via Asia News)

Pattaya has been frustrated for being passed over for an exemption from the national alcohol ban that other tourist areas like Phuket have received as a tourism “Blue Zone”, but nevertheless, one of Thailand’s most popular resort cities is seeing tourism slowly emerge from its Covid-19 pandemic induced slumber. With a menu of events through the end of the year, hotels have been booking up for upcoming holidays and celebrations. The Pattaya Music Festival has been going for the past 10 days, and next week the city will host a big Loy Krathong festival followed the week after by a fireworks festival.

The Chairman of the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association points out though that the crowds are not coming from outside the border. About 80% of the holiday business is from Thai domestic travellers and most of the foreigners that are coming in with the new Test & Go entry program launched November 1 are expats that already have a Thai family that they are jumping through hoops to be with.

Though Test & G0 is a big step up from the one and 2-week quarantine options that came before it, even those from the 63 countries who can enter “without quarantine” are still required to take an expensive RT-PCR test and be sequestered while they wait at least 6 to 8 hours in an approved hotel for the test results. If they are negative, travellers can then travel freely throughout Thailand though.

But the Tourism Association Chairman says this is still too much of an inconvenience for many travellers that aren’t interested in jumping through hoops to get into Thailand, especially for Pattaya, a city world-renowned for its nightlife which is all shuttered, or supposed to be anyway. And the recent announcement that entertainment venues like bars, clubs, pubs, karaoke, and gentlemen’s clubs will remain closed until at least January 15 is a kick in the gut to an industry that has been brought to its knees already.

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The closure creates a chicken-or-egg situation where tourists aren’t coming because so many businesses, restaurants, and nightlife are closed, but many business owners and operators are holding off on attempting to reopen and bring all their staff back because of the restrictions and the low tourist numbers that result.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Pattaya office says that about 10% of Test & Go arrivals – about 2,000 people total – are heading to Pattaya or Chon Buri, despite limited transportations options. Officials are working on getting more vehicles and services SHA+ certified to help and creating a drive-through Covid-19 testing set-up on the way to accommodations to streamline the arrival process. It remains to be seen if the efforts are enough to generate the 50 billion baht in tourist revenue that the TAT Pattaya are expecting in 2021’s fourth quarter.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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