Walking Street businesses have embraced the motto of “adapt or die”, switching up their prices and business models to accommodate Thais amid growing suspicion foreign visitors will be kept out of Thailand until 2021.
Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh said Aug. 9 that the move to open Walking Street to vehicle traffic around the clock was a nod to Thai-owned restaurants, tailor shops and other stores. Allowing Thais to drive to their businesses – instead of having to stroll on foot through a notorious red light district – could help offset the loss of overseas tourists, he said.
Entertainment venues also are adapting their businesses to Thai tastes. Music bars are playing more local music, opening earlier and cutting prices, he said.
Ronakit said Pattaya wants to bring more Thai domestic tourists to Pattaya and has asked the Chonburi Tourism and Sports Department to organize a “Walking Street Food and Drinks Festival.”
He didn’t offer any details on what the festival might look like – it’s difficult to do a street festival when you now let taxis drive through it – and no date for such a festival was disclosed.