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Pattaya business owners and officials want Pattaya included in any potential future tourist bubble program as test zone

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It has been roughly five months since international borders closed to inbound general tourists, of which Thailand had roughly forty million last year.

Pattaya City is arguably one of the top destinations in Thailand for tourists and their local GDP (not national) is nearly 80% reliant on tourism, hospitality and entertainment according to Pattaya City officials, the majority coming from foreign tourists.

Although not the only tourist reliant destination in Thailand (Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Chang, Krabi and other islands come to mind) Pattaya is the only landlocked destination so reliant on tourism (Although Bangkok gets many tourists, their GDP is far less reliant on tourists). Chiang Mai, although also very reliant on tourism, is substantially less according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Pattaya was in the top 20 places in the world visited in 2019, along with Phuket and Bangkok in Thailand.

As Phuket and other places discuss being tourist test grounds for the country, leaders and business owners in hard hit Thailand have been discussing with the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, CCSA, for Pattaya to be included. At one point, the city was on the list, but was removed due to concerns of being less able to be controlled than an island. However, as the economic situation in the tourism reliant city worsens many are rallying for the city to be made a pilot once more.

Pattaya City Mayor Sonthaya Khunplume has stated multiple times how important tourism is to Pattaya and has stated that regular discussions with the CCSA have taken place around the return of international tourism. He has, however, not gone into depth on suggestions from local business owners of making the city a test market for foreign tourism.

However, as of the most recent announcements, Pattaya remains off the list for concerns that if the Covid-19 virus did break out that it would be more difficult to control as the city is landlocked.

As of press time, roughly forty to fifty percent of the venues in the city, especially in the world famous Walking Street, remain closed either by choice or due to lack of funds. This is similar in regards to hotels and restaurants. Some venues, especially those popular with Thai nationals and foreigners such as the Insomnia nightclub, seem unaffected by the disease.  Others, like portions of Soi Buakhao, are being supported by primarily local expats.

The CCSA, for now, has not shown signs of adding Pattaya to any test market, however, have previously stated that they are well aware of the situation Pattaya is in as one of the most famous nightlife and tourist destinations in the world.

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