The constantly moving target for reopening Pattaya has frustrated foreign tourists looking elsewhere for holidays, the local head of the Thai Hotels Association said.
THA Eastern Chapter President Phisut Sae-Khu said Sept. 22 that pushing back Pattaya’s reopening to Nov. 1, the current date being bandied about, on such short notice has affected travelers’ confidence and tourists are looking to visit other destinations instead.
While nothing has been officially approved, a Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesman said on Wednesday that there is agreement that any province wishing to reopen would need to vaccinate 70 percent of its adult population first.
That puts Chonburi out of the running, as the government’s failure over the summer to supply the province with enough vaccine doses has left it behind schedule. At the current rate, the 70-percent threshold won’t be crossed until the end of October.
That means that Pattaya likely will spend another “high season” without true foreign tourists. The only ones who will come after the reopening are returning Thais and foreign expats, Phisut said.
While foreign tourism likely won’t resume in October, domestic tourism will, fueled by the extension of the government’s subsidized travel campaign.
Phisut suggested that the government lift the ban on group gatherings of more than 25 people to support the meetings, conventions, incentives and exhibitions sector. Booking MICE events could lift Pattaya’s hotel occupancy to between 30 and 40 percent, he said.