Pattaya nightlife operators are casting hopeful gazes toward Phuket where international tourists started returning July 1, but with new coronavirus cases surging above 100 Saturday, there’s little hope the same thing will happen here.
Chonburi reported 294 new Covid-19 cases in the province July 3, with 108 of them in Banglamung District, which includes Pattaya. With only ten percent of Pattaya residents receiving even a single dose of Covid-19 vaccines, the hope for reopening the city to foreign visitors in October remains slim.
Sangduen Permenter, owner of TJ’s Music Bar on Soi Naklua 18, said last month she wants to reopen her ladyboy bar that she has owned for a decade, as it will add life to Pattaya’s environment.
But Damrongkiat Pinitkarn, secretary to Entertainment & Tourism Association of Pattaya City, said last month that entertainment venues in provinces with high infection rates should remain closed, in his personal opinion.
However, those in areas with low numbers of new Covid-19 cases – which included Pattaya when he was quoted but does not now – should be able to reopen.
Fully vaccinated foreign tourists willing to put up with harsh restrictions and jump through copious bureaucratic hoops can enter Phuket without having to undergo quarantine. But only hundreds – not thousands and certainly not millions as before – are taking advantage of the offer.
Thanusak Pungdej, president of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, said the Tourism Authority of Thailand is hoping to draw 40,000 tourists a month over the next three months.
The city has only 20 percent of its pre-pandemic number of hotel rooms available – about 30,000. Most of those are in four- and five-star resorts with relatively few budget options available.