Hoteliers in Pattaya City have expressed concern over the feasibility of fully resuming under the city’s reopening scheme, as the still serious COVID-19 situation may hinder efforts to draw foreign tourists back.
Phisut Sae-khu, president of the hotels association in the eastern provinces, said hotel operators weren’t even certain if the government would finally allow Pattaya City and two districts in Chon Buri to reopen for tourism on 1st October as planned.
They still are waiting to hear from the government for a final decision, Mr Sae-khu said.
“Although more than 40 hotels are taking part in reopening preparations, the question remains whether it will really be viable to resume full business operations,” he said.
“Considering the COVID-19 situation, hotel operators can really only hope to earn income mainly from Thai tourists visiting at weekend and on public holidays, which won’t be enough to cover the costs of operations.” Operators were worried that because of COVID-19, foreign tourists might stay away.
These hotel operators nonetheless want Western tourists, especially those who want to get away from the cold weather in Europe to spend time in this picturesque seaside city and enjoy a warm climate.
However, the COVID-19 situation here is considered critical and deters people from these countries from coming, he said.
Despite that, several groups of British, Chinese and Indian tourists have already expressed interest in coming to Pattaya.
“If the government stands firm on the 1st October reopening plan, it should speed up rolling out tourism events aimed at attracting international tourists and creating a standard for tourism during a time when COVID-19 is still out there,” he said.
Chon Buri governor Phakkhathon Thianchai said Pattaya City and Muang and Bang Lamung districts of Chon Buri will be included in the government’s next tourism reopening plan.
“Under the programmes called Pattaya Sandbox and Chon Buri Move On, foreign tourists will be transferred from the airport to be quarantined for three days at hotels in the two districts and Pattaya,” Mr Thianchai said.
“If cleared of COVID-19 infection, they will be allowed to travel more freely in zones and on routes prepared for the reopening programmes.”
About 80% of people in Pattaya have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, he said.