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Pattaya reopening postponed indefinitely as Covid-19 persists

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PHOTO: The beaches of Pattaya will remain quiet as reopening is postponed indefinitely. (via Flickr)

The Tourism Authority of Thailand announced that the Pattaya reopening plan scheduled to launch on September 1 has been postponed indefinitely. With Covid-19 still ravaging the Chon Buri province, the TAT has conceded that it won’t be possible to reopen to international travellers safely in just 20 days. Hua Hin and other tourist areas received the same bad news from the TAT.

The news is not surprising as the Covid-19 shutdown continues after 4 months to the day of the order shutting down most businesses as the third wave of the Coronavirus started rapidly spreading throughout the country, but is still a knock to hopeful businesses and people desperate to start earning money again.

Chon Buri is now a maximum control zone with almost everything closed including beaches, parks, shopping and dining options, so reopening to international travellers seems impossible. Over 1000 Covid-19 cases per day are being reported in the province, though many are being uncovered in factories and industrial work camps. Vaccination has been slow as well, and are nowhere near the 70% target for reopening, though the mayor of Pattaya expects that once vaccinations rates are high in Bangkok and the situation improves, Pattaya will become a focus area for mass vaccination.

Pattaya’s plan to reopen, titled “Pattaya Move On”, was intended to be a soft reopening, to begin to let foreigners back in slowly, despite the nightlife and entertainment venues that Pattaya is famous for remaining closed. Certain SHA Plus approved resorts and hotels would be open to international travellers, and sealed routes would be created to allow day trips to islands, beaches, temples and other safe attractions.

A full reopening where tourists could be fully free to do anything they pleased is still likely a long way away, as the struggling residents long for the 10 million foreign and 7 million domestic tourists that came in 2019, making Pattaya the 19th most visited city in the world. Officials hope to reopen for domestic tourism at least by the fourth quarter of this year.

Still, the city will continue creating the framework for the now postponed Move On plan and readying itself for the time when reopening could be possible. A Standard Operation Procedure Plan is being solidified with arrangements being made for the sealed routes proposed, so Pattaya will be poised and ready to launch as soon as it is deemed safe again.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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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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