While domestic tourism can keep many Pattaya businesses alive, some local institutions can’t survive without foreigners. One only needs to look at the Alcazar Cabaret show and Tiffany Theatre for cases in point.
Closed since last year’s first coronavirus shutdown, the transgender cabaret show, along with its main rival, the Alcazar Cabaret, lack appeal to most Thais, as there are plenty of campy ladyboy antics in Thai-language television shows and movies.
Tiffany and Alcazar survived on foreigners for whom the sight of tall, often beautiful men who became women is a novelty, not something you can find at the local cosmetics counter or Tesco-Lotus. So, while the cabarets were allowed to reopen in July, business has been hard-going.
While the Tiffany Show ended its 2020 run in March, Alcazar’s owners tried to make a go of it. But with low attendance, they cut performances to just weekends. Even that wasn’t enough, so in December the theater closed, not to reopen until after foreign tourism recovers.
Alcazar General Manager Kittiwong Chaisupakit said the company adjusted its marketing to appeal more to Thais and put in place extensive safety protocols to make the public feel comfortable sitting in an air-conditioned auditorium, but it didn’t work.
By closing, Alcazar’s full-time staff can receive unemployment benefits up to 15,000 baht a month until June. Hopefully, he said, things will have improved by then.