From the looks of city streets, “for sale” sign-makers are the only ones making money in Pattaya.
What was a smattering of “for rent” and “for sale” placards in February has turned into a kaleidoscope of economic devastation. Four months of lockdown and a sluggish reopening devoid of foreign tourists have destroyed Pattaya’s retail and service sectors, leaving two out of every three businesses shuttered in some parts of the city.
Eood Kaewsuwan, a beer bar owner on Second Road, said he’s been serving suds for 20 years and never seen it like this. He had three other bars and all are closed due to a lack of tourists. Fortunately, he said, the landlord isn’t insisting he pay rent.
Others have not been so lucky and have closed permanently.
Eood said aid provided by the government, including provisions to allow deferment of car payments and bank loans, have been some help, but he worries it won’t be enough as so many are now unemployed.
Veerasak Chayeng, a souvenir shop operator on Walking Street, said he bought a lot of stock in liquidation sales and invested a lot into his property, so he cannot close, at least not until the new year.
He hopes Pattaya will ramp up events and promotions to bring more Thais and expat tourists to Pattaya.
Premrudee Jittivuthikarn, owner of King Seafood, has reopened – unlike its major competitor Sea Zone – but doesn’t know how much longer she can stay open. She said she sold take-out food for two months to help her employees, but she’s running out of options.