Hotel bookings in Pattaya dropped by half after the latest coronavirus wave began.
Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said hotels nationwide have seen a tremendous drop in business during January, with the national occupancy rate this month expected to hover around 20%.
Tourist areas have seen drops of 25-50% in bookings since the beginning of the year, both due to cancellations by foreign tourists and the reluctance of Thais to travel out of fear over the omicron coronavirus variant.
Chonburi and Pattaya, the epicenter of the latest Covid-19 wave with more cases than any province on many days, has seen all its tourism-industry momentum disappear.
The province on Wednesday reported 506 confirmed Covid-19 cases with 256 of those in Banglamung District, which includes Pattaya. Hundreds more unconfirmed or unreported cases found through home antigen tests are suspected.
The reasons for the decline in foreign and domestic tourism are many, Marisa said.
For international visitors, it’s the combined effect of the Dec. 21 suspension of the Test & Go tourist-entry scheme, the reduction of “sandbox” provinces from 17 to four (Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani and Phangnga), cancellation of flights to Thailand by international carriers, and the reluctance of foreigners to visit Thailand due to the global omicron surge.
For Thais, omicron fear is paramount as is willingness to do what the government tells them, which in this case, is not to travel across provincial lines. Companies also banned employees from traveling up-country for fear of infections that could cripple operations.