Pattaya businesses continue long-shot push for ‘sandbox’

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The CCSA has shown no indication they will restore Pattaya’s sandbox status, especially since Chonburi continues to lead the nation in new daily Covid-19 cases.

Business leaders continue to push for Pattaya to be designated a tourist “sandbox,” despite little interest in doing so by national health authorities.

Pattaya Business & Tourism Association President Boonanan Pattanasin – who also is a Pattaya city councilman – met Jan. 14 with Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome to renew his proposal to allow foreign tourists to arrive in Pattaya for seven days and undergo two coronavirus tests before traveling elsewhere.



Boonanan said the city’s hotel industry is gearing up to offer “hotel isolation” services, as is happening in Phuket, which would allow those who test positive for Covid-19 to remain in their hotel rooms if they have only mild symptoms. The current alternative requires them to be either hospitalized or sent to a “hospitel” – converted hotel operating as a quarantine center.


The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Dec. 21 canceled 16 of 17 “sandboxes,” including Chonburi, as the omicron coronavirus wave hit. This month islands in Surat Thani and Phangna, plus Krabi Province, were added as sandboxes.

PBTA President Boonanan Pattanasin said the city’s hotel industry is gearing up to offer “hotel isolation” services, as is happening in Phuket.

But the CCSA has shown no indication they will restore Pattaya’s sandbox status, especially since Chonburi continues to lead the nation in new daily Covid-19 cases.

Chonburi on Saturday reported 525 new coronavirus cases, 193 of which were in Banglamung District, which includes Pattaya. That total is the lowest reported in two weeks but may be due to slow weekend reporting.

The other hurdle blocking Chonburi’s sandbox is the inability to control the movement of sandboxed tourists. They are supposed to remain in the area for a week, but it’s virtually impossible to enforce that. Other sandboxes, such as Phuket or Koh Tao, are islands with easy access control.



Boonanan continues to falsely insist that the Mor Chana smartphone app tourists must install will “alert authorities” if a tourist leaves the area. In fact, the app sends no alerts. It simply registers a tourist’s phone and tracks their movements. The government can then access the Mor Chana system to tap into the phone’s GPS chip to determine the user’s current location.

A tourist would not be tracked until they had already left the area, as continues to happen with the other sandboxes, including a Russian tourist who fled Phuket Friday.


Despite national health authorities’ complete indifference, local business leaders continue to push for Pattaya to be designated a tourist “sandbox.”