Pattaya’s tourism industry is waiting impatiently for the government to vaccinate the public and reopen the country to foreign tourists, using soft loans to survive.
Despite the severe third coronavirus wave, the government insists the plan is to allow fully vaccinated foreigners to arrive in Phuket in July without having to undergo quarantine. If successful, they intend to expand the model to Pattaya and other areas in October.
However, the key to the plan is the government’s ability to vaccinate at least 70 percent of the Phuket and Pattaya populations against Covid-19, a goal much in doubt given the government’s failure to procure enough vaccines.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Rathchakitprakarn said, given the third wave, he agrees with the government’s decision to suspend its subsidized domestic tourism campaigns. But they could resume if daily coronavirus case totals drop below 200.
On Sunday, Thailand reported 2,302 cases, 48 of them in Chonburi and 29 of those in Pattaya.
Chamnan Srisawad, chairman of the Tourism Council of Thailand, said the only priority for the industry right now is vaccines.
Soft loans also are important, he said. Companies shut down by the Covid-19 crisis need cash to survive until July or October. The government must lend help if they want a tourism industry that foreigners can return to this fall.
Thanapol Cheevarattanaporn, president of the Association of Domestic Travel, said that once the current wave has ebbed, the government needs to reintroduce even bigger domestic tourism campaigns that incentivize travel every day, not just on weekends and holidays.