Pattaya’s top hotel executive doubts many western tourists will visit Pattaya even if it reopens Oct. 1 due to restrictive quarantine and travel limitations.
Phisut Sae-khu, president of the Thai Hotels Association (Eastern Chapter), said Sept. 8 that the “Pattaya Move On” plan is less attractive to foreign travelers than reopening plans proffered by Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Phuket and Koh Samui. He believes the few foreign tourists who arrive in Thailand after Oct. 1 will go there, not Pattaya.
The Move On plan is a reopening plan in name only. Arrivals are still confined to an alternative local quarantine hotel for three days and, when they are allowed out, they can only travel on “sealed routes” to prepaid, predetermined tourist attractions. Many former visitors to Pattaya are taking one look at that and saying “pass.”
Add the fact that, by October, it’s likely Pattaya will still be a “dark red” coronavirus maximum and strict control zone, meaning bars will be closed, alcohol won’t be sold in restaurants and a curfew will remain in place. That’s not a holiday anyone wants.
Thus, Phisut said the THA is focusing on Thai tourists, who will get to resume organized tours in October. Many of those tours are junkets paid for by local governments that often include a few hours of “study” and days of relaxation.
He said as many as 40 Pattaya hotels are ready to open with the SHA+ safety certification. But operators aren’t sure it will be worth it. Indeed, Phisut said he’s still waiting to see if the government will give Pattaya the OK to open, given the high number of daily cases and a vaccination rate only in the 40-percent range.