Phisut Sae-khu, General Manager of Asia Hotel Pattaya was re-elected President of the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter for another two-year term (2020-22) at the bi-annual AGM held at the Dusit Thani Pattaya Mar. 17.
In his report outgoing president Phisut said, “these past two years were the most challenging in the history of the hotel business in Pattaya and the eastern region of Thailand. Two years ago, we thought that the pandemic would last only a few months and that it would be back to business as usual very soon. But that was not to be. The situation became worse and our hotels were ordered by the Chonburi governor to shut down again and again, creating a lot of hardships for the hotel operators not to mention our staff who we had to reluctantly let go.
“But we persevered. Our members and committee worked diligently with both the private and public sector to find solutions and ways to keep the hotel industry alive. We campaigned hard for the government sector to help us. The government was sincere in trying to help us, but their hands were tied too. The Covid-19 situation did not let up and there was nothing much they could do.”
Phisut went on to say, “The government tried many schemes to help the hotel business get back on its feet, but most of them were not successful. The latest “We Travel Together” subsidized tourism scheme didn’t work out so well for hotels in Pattaya and the eastern region. Only 900,000 of the available 2 million discounted hotel nights were booked since the fourth phase of the program was launched last year.
Phisut said that Pattaya business and tourism leaders regularly called on the government to legally reopen all bars and clubs and to end early closing times. They asked to ease restrictions during the Songkran celebrations in order to lift the two sectors out of the doldrums. He pointed out that the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration must finally do what it preaches, that we have to “live with Covid-19” and end all disease-control restrictions on the tourism and entertainment industries. That meant green-lighting all tourism activities and events for Songkran next month.”
“While the association understands new daily coronavirus cases remain at historic highs – in Pattaya most cases are either mild or asymptomatic. Hospitals in Pattaya have three-quarters of their beds available and deaths remain at relatively low levels. Furthermore, vaccination levels in Pattaya are approaching 90%, Phisut said.
As a result, he hoped the CCSA will allow “some” Songkran activities, even if water fights were not allowed. That could include street festivals on Beach Road with vendors, shows, concerts, parades, shopping, food, and religious and cultural activities for the whole family.
In recent months the coronavirus surge prompted city hall to cancel all tourism-promotion activities and gatherings of 50 or more people. The government was also considering canceling all Songkran festivities. Combine that with virus fear and the fallout on tourism from the Russia-Ukraine war and it adds up to many more months of hardships in Pattaya.
Following President Phisut Sae-khu’s report, Past President and advisor to the board Sanpetch Supabowornsthien, GM of the Long Beach Garden Resort & Spa, invited Pratheep Singh Malhotra, MD of Pattaya Mail, to chair the election meeting together with Ampai Sakdanukuljit, Director of the Chonburi Tourism and Sports Council, Kachondej Apicharttrakul, Director of TAT Pattaya Office, Rattanachai Sutidechanai, representative of Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) Central and Eastern region and Damrongkiat Pinitkarn, Asst. Secretary to Pattaya Mayor.
Phisut Sae-khu was proposed and re-elected for another two-year term as president of the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter. Patsanat Atsawachaisophon, Managing Director of the Grand Jomtien Palace Hotel and Boonkerd Suksrikan, Managing Director of the Sunbeam Hotel, were elected 1st and 2nd vice-presidents respectively.
Pisut first won the office in 2020, succeeding Sanpetch Supabowornsthien, GM of the Long Beach Garden Resort & Spa.
Phisut thanked all 93 members of the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter for their support and said he intends to push hard for the hotel industry to bounce back from the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic.