Pattaya Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome told local tourism groups they should have come to him before complaining publicly that “corrupt” government officials are not helping the industry enough during the country’s coronavirus second wave.
Speaking to the media Jan. 12, Sonthaya said he was disappointed the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter, Chonburi Tourism Industry Council, and six other organizations publicly released a letter to Chonburi’s governor calling for economic relief to help business owners and employees. He said he didn’t hear of the letter until he read about it in the press.
Sonthaya said he has been meeting with officials from the Chonburi Governor’s office, the Interior Ministry and Social Security Office to craft measures that can be adjusted to help people in trouble. He said the city is working on the problem every day, as best it can.
The mayor said both Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Finance Ministry support making tax and regulatory changes to help the tourism and hospitality industries but it takes time, just as it did during the first Covid-19 shutdown.
He said talks also are underway whether the government should order Pattaya hotels closed so that employees can collect unemployment benefits.
The eight tourism associations called not only for the hotel-closure order, but expansion of the Social Security Fund to pay unemployment benefits for 200 days; a cut in Social Security employer contributions to 1 percent, discounted utility bills until the end of the year, exemptions or reductions in tariffs as well as land, sign and maintenance taxes; and a six-month debt-repayment moratorium.