Even if Pattaya can reopen to foreign tourists Sept. 1, business leaders don’t expect many will come.
Thai Hotels Association Eastern Chapter President Phisut Sae-khu said July 21 that no one believes Pattaya tourism will return to pre-coronavirus levels this year. And, based on early results for the Phuket “sandbox” and Samui “Plus” programs, there may not be many tourists at all.
In its first week, Koh Samui saw the arrival of only 20 foreign nationals and half of those weren’t actually tourists, but overseas media. Phuket has attracted only several thousand visitors, the majority of whom are believed to be returning Thai nationals or foreign expats coming home.
Phisut said any reopening of Pattaya under a “sealed route” strategy used by Koh Samui should be considered a “soft opening” with no large influx of tourists to be expected.
He said genuine tourists likely wouldn’t come to Pattaya until at least November.
But if current coronavirus trends continue, it’s unlikely Pattaya will reopen at all in September, said Boonanan Pattanasin, president of the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association.
Boonanan said he has told business owners to prepare for postponement of the reopening even if the government approves the “Pattaya Move On” proposal, which it hasn’t.