Chinese and Russians holding Special Tourist Visas must go through fast-track services and receive a quick permission to arrive via U-Tapao-Rayong-Pattaya Airport and quarantine in Pattaya city, said many local tourism business and hotels owners.
Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome said Nov. 2 that he proposed a ‘Pattaya Model’ to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that would give STV travelers an alternative to Bangkok or Phuket and revive the local tourism industry.
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The ‘Pattaya Model’ plan was developed with the help of the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter, Chonburi Tourist Attraction Association and other groups to be an end-to-end solution to bring Chinese and Russian tourists into U-Tapao, safely transfer them to ALQ (alternative local quarantine) hotels in Pattaya and provide the monitored tours in the weeks following their quarantine.
Special Tourist Visas allow travelers to remain in Thailand for up to 270 days, but the government is requiring their whereabouts to be tracked either in person or electronically for an undetermined period after completing quarantine.
Last year 3 million Chinese and 1.1 million Russian tourists visited Pattaya.
Sonthaya said embassies and tour operators in China and Russian have expressed interest in sending visitors to Pattaya. But currently they must fly into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport and use ASQ hotels in Bangkok. U-Tapao currently cannot be used to receive STV travelers.
The mayor said 10 more Pattaya hotels have applied to become ALQ centers, with the Hotel J Residence, Avani Pattaya Resort and Best Bella Pattaya having been approved.
“No matter how Pattaya has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, tourism remains the city’s main source of revenue,” Sonthaya said. “So we need readiness plans for when tourists return and also work to improve the quality of life here.”