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Domestic tourists give Pattaya a boost over holiday weekend

Maya Taylor

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Domestic tourists give Pattaya a boost over holiday weekend | Thaiger
PHOTO: Sung Shin on Unsplash

There has been some respite for Pattaya’s battered tourism sector over the 4 day long weekend, as domestic tourists visit the city for the extended break. The public holidays on Friday, September 4, and Monday, September 7, are replacements for the Songkran festival that was cancelled in April as a result of Covid-19. But the water fights were put on hold.

The Pattaya News reports that the city was bustling last night, keeping thousands of visiting tourists entertained, mostly Thais who had headed to the party town. Popular seafood venues were also busy, as were the city’s nightclubs and live music spots. Many of the city’s pubs and bars have changed their business model to cater for the local traffic as they await the return of foreigners, the driver of the city’s red light economy.

The beach was also busy, with people relaxing and swimming, and some hotels even reported 100% occupancy. The anecdotal evidence bucks the trend for domestic tourism, which is not doing as well as the Tourism Authority of Thailand had hoped.

Pattaya’s normally thriving tourism industry has been left decimated by the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of Thailand’s borders to foreign tourists. Many businesses have had to shut up shop, with others warning they will follow, if the government does not find a way of allowing international visitors back in. Pattaya businesses are also calling for more festivals and weekend events, in the hope of attracting visitors from Bangkok and other parts of the country.

The islands of Phuket and Koh Samui are facing the same struggle, with a much-talked about plan to allow limited tourism to resume next month now likely to be delayed as the country records its first local case of Covid-19 in over 3 months.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 3:36 pm

    Best four days of the year (after COVID) and only 30% occupancy rate (national level) dixit TAT. A friend of mine is in the Sheraton Royal Orchid BKK and only 20% (he has got an amazing deal)… after this week-end, back to the normal 17% occupancy rate… who can survive? Nobody…

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Pattaya

Unemployed elephants walk 500 kilometres from Pattaya to Surin

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Unemployed elephants walk 500 kilometres from Pattaya to Surin | Thaiger
PHOTO: Elephants walking down the road because their car is in the shop.

A group of 5 elephants and their owners began the long walk today from Pattaya to Surin after giving up on the return of tourism anytime soon. The 500 kilometre journey has to be done on foot as they couldn’t afford to hire trucks large enough to carry each elephant.

After waiting a year for the Chinese tourists that make up a majority of their customer base to return, the families decided to embark on the long journey with the 5 elephants to their home in the northeastern province of Surin. As they walk they’re protected on both sides by pickup trucks to keep them safe from cars.

5 years ago Napalai Mai-ngam came with her relatives to work in an elephant resort in Tambon Lam Huay Yai of Bang Lamung near Pattaya with their 5 elephants. They told the Bangkok Post that their earned a good living, about 75,000 baht (15,000 per elephant) plus tips from the tourists to ride elephants on nature trails, each month.

But with the borders closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic the tourists from China who usually flocked to elephant activities, were stuck back in China and Napalai’s boss had to cut their pay. Even with vaccinations finally underway, tourists in numbers, enough to sustain activities like elephant camps, may not be back anytime soon. The families finally had to surrender to the reality and start the long walk home.

They avoid the blistering Thai sun by walking early mornings while the weather was still cool, and hope the roadways out of Pattaya would provide snacking opportunities for the elephants to graze. They expect the journey to take about 2 weeks. The families have turned down offers of cash donations for fear that their long walk will be viewed as a publicity stunt.

That said, the families have expressed gratitude to the locals in towns they pass who have donated drinking water, food and fruit to the entourage of people and elephants. If you would like to donate resources you can contact them on phone number 093 335 7062.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Japanese man allegedly beaten by Pattaya bar security

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Japanese man allegedly beaten by Pattaya bar security | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Pattaya's bar scene

A Japanese man is recovering after allegedly receiving a beating by security guards at a bar in central Pattaya just after midnight this morning, according to the Pattaya City Police. The 41 year old Japanese man, Takeshi Shigami, arrived at the police station at 1am, saying that two nightclub guards assaulted him “without provocation”. He claims he did nothing to aggravate the bouncers into attacking. The man filed the police report and then went to the local hospital a checkup out of an abundance of caution.

The Pattaya News reports that Pattaya police attempted to locate the suspect after investigating the incident at the bar, asking the suspect’s father to tell the bouncer to turn himself in. The suspect, Nipon Prakong, arrived to be interviewed at the police station at 4am, and proceeded to lay out a very different tale than that of the victim’s.

He accepted full responsibility for attacking the Japanese man, but claimed that the other security guards at the club were not involved. He also stressed that the incident was not unprovoked. His version of events described a very drunk Takeshi entering the bar after closing time demanding a beer even though they were clearly shut and had all the house lights on.

Pattaya currently has a midnight curfew for bars because of Covid-19, just as Bangkok is considering a 9pm curfew so the bar was obligated to follow that restriction. They refused to serve him, at which point the Japanese man got visibly agitated. Nipon said that Takeshi was disappointed and upset and clearly drunk and began shouting loudly, demanding to be served.

The bouncer asked him to leave the bar, but the man allegedly refused demanding repeatedly to be given a beer before he would agree to vacate the closed nightclub. Eventually the man pushed the bouncer, though the bouncer admits it was a light push, but Nipon was enraged and hit Takeshi in the face.

The bouncer is now facing criminal charges of committing bodily harm causing injuries. The name of the bar hasn’t been disclosed at this stage as Pattaya Police considered it an ongoing investigation. They plan to review the CCTV footage inside the bar to confirm if the beating was unprovoked as the Japanese man claims or came after intoxicated belligerence escalated to a violent outburst as the bouncer asserts. They also plan on taking additional statements from both the security guard and the Japanese men, including investigating further Takeshi’s claim that there were two bouncers involved not just Nipon.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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