Pattaya’s tourism sector will collapse again if the government continues its suspension of the “Test & Go” entry scheme after Jan. 4, industry officials said.
Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association, explained Dec. 23 how hotel cancellations began within hours after the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s decision to halt Thailand’s nearly quarantine-free tourism Dec. 21.
While about 80,000 people who already have approved Thailand Pass QR codes can enter the country under Test & Go, new applications were halted Dec. 22 through Jan. 4.
The CCSA will reevaluate the situation on Jan. 4 and determine whether Test & Go’s suspension will be extended to combat the spread of the coronavirus omicron variant.
Test & Go allows fully vaccinated tourists to arrive in Thailand with just a one-night booking at a quarantine hotel and pre- and post-flight coronavirus tests. Test & Go arrivals will now be required to take a free second test in Thailand on the seventh day after arrival.
Thanet Supornsahatrangsi, chairman of the Chonburi Tourism Industry Council, said that the CCSA’s move – along with the suspension of the Pattaya “sandbox” scheme – will seriously impact local tourism if it continues.
Pattaya had been receiving about 500-700 tourists a day, but that number will drop to zero, Thanet predicted, if Pattaya is only allowed to accept tourists who have to stay 7-14 days in an alternative quarantine hotel.
The CCSA suspended 16 of 17 “sandbox” programs – keeping only Phuket open – as keeping tourists inside those areas for seven days is nearly impossible. Phuket, as an island, can be sealed off and access easily controlled.
Local tourism leaders, however, are calling on the government to reopen the Pattaya sandbox.