Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome rallied beach vendors on the first day of Thailand’s “reopening” to foreign tourists, although none of them came to Pattaya.
Sonthaya and his aides walked around Pattaya and Jomtien beaches, greeting beach chair vendors and beach masseuses to give them moral support and assure them that the end of desperate economic times is near.
While foreign tourists can arrive with only one-night quarantine after obtaining US$50,000 in insurance and negative coronavirus test results, Pattaya remains at a disadvantage to Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi and Phangnga provinces.
Chonburi remains a “red” maximum coronavirus control zone – not a “blue” tourism zone – restaurants still cannot sell alcohol and the cities hundreds of bars remain closed.
But the city is making progress in getting its hotel “SHA+” certified, which allows tourists to come directly to the city after landing in Bangkok. Sonthaya said about 100 hotels are now SHA+ certified.
Beach operators also are ready, he said, with masseuses, chair renters and other hawkers all fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
The city, at best, hopes to attract about 200,000 people by the end of the year, Sonthaya said.