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Some Pattaya businesses oppose quick reopening to foreign tourists



Photo via Wikimedia

While Pattaya tourist businesses are desperate for borders to reopen to foreign tourists, many local business owners oppose the rush to reopen Thailand. Boonanan Phattanasin, The president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, which serves many businesses throughout Pattaya, points out that while international tourism benefits the local economy, domestic tourism is booming and businesses that cater to Thai tourists are doing well. They fear that open borders may bring new Covid-19 infections in, and scare away their domestic customers.

Seafood restaurants, Thai BBQ, Thai clubs and other places popular with locals much more than foreigners don’t feel the need to rush international customers in, while the coronavirus is still not fully contained. Koh Larn businesses are reporting busy weekends with Thai tourists enjoying a quick getaway, but they worry that locals will look for short holidays elsewhere if they know that Pattaya is a designated “sandbox” area that will be the first to let in foreign travellers. Even with vaccinations and testing, locals may not want to even risk Covid-19 infections and will simply travel somewhere else.

While these concerns are valid, pressure from the much larger international tourism market will likely trump the concerns of the domestic tourism businesses. The goal is to work towards a mutually beneficial solution and Boonanan proposes ensuring the majority of local residents should be vaccinated before opening to international tourists and keeping a watchful eye on sandbox trials in Phuket and Koh Samui first. Until then, Pattaya continues weekly events and promotions aimed at domestic tourists.

 The sandbox plan would allow vaccinated tourists from come countries to visit Pattaya and other selected tourist locations without quarantine. Tourists would still be subject to mandatory tracking and allowed to visit limited places until secondary Covid-19 testing was done. The government plans to have Phuket as the first sandbox location with Koh Samui as a likely location for sandboxing early as well. With 10 million foreign tourists in 2019, Pattaya is likely to push forward with the sandbox reopening despite objections from domestic tourism businesses, as a much larger majority rely solely on foreign tourism and are desperate for quarantine and travel restrictions to end.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News


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  1. Mark

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Keep it close,
    I’m having the time of my life service is never been better in all aspects.

  2. luca

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    in fact they are not all wrong, Pattaya has always been Bangkok’s outlet, there is a regular weekend flow of tourists for those with seafood restaurants, Thai barbecues, Thai clubs and other places frequented by locals , the lack of international tourists is a problem for large hotels, for mega shopping centers, for all those activities that instead need international tourists to survive and I don’t think they will be able to return soon.

  3. pascal

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 7:38 pm

    of course the risk will be there…..can t rely on peoples, too many selfish. it will be always some smartsass to mess around , this human.

  4. rip255

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 9:46 pm

    I’m in Pattaya and 80% of businesses are closed and the remaining 20% are dead. Everyones broke and food queues are a new feature of the landscape.

    If this is true, people would rather be poor and in a life of debt than risk getting covid.

  5. toby andrews

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 11:03 pm

    All that rubbish posted and rip255 posts the truth.

  6. Joe Nyomozo

    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 1:51 am

    I suspect that there is more food poisonings in one week in Pattaya than COVID brought in by a foreigners. With Covid testing, quarantine (not to mention if you vaccinated already) you as a foreigner are a lower risk than a person who lives in Bangkok and come down to Pattaya for the weekend! But of course like with anything you can’t convince undedicated minds!

  7. truc tiep bong da

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 5:08 am

    excellent publish, very informative. I’m wondering why the other experts of this sector do not notice this.
    You must proceed your writing. I am sure, you have a great readers’ base already!

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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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