Tourism operators in Pattaya are expecting a tourism boost after the Test and Go scheme is lifted from May 1.
Pisut Saeku, president of the Thai Hotels Association Eastern, said hotel owners were glad to learn that the government had decided to ease entry restrictions.
The tourism sector has suffered years of visitor scarcity due to strict Covid-19 rules, such as the requirement for pre-arrival tests and one-day quarantine, he said.
Mr Pisut said past restrictions thwarted the tourism industry’s attempt to make progress during the pandemic, prompting Thailand to be unable to compete with neighbouring countries in drawing tourists.
“Now that the Test and Go scheme will be lifted, many travel agencies from India, Vietnam, South Korea and Japan have already contacted the Thai Hotels Association [to bring tourists],” he said.
Mr Pisut said even though next month a part of the low season, the timing is apt for travel agencies and hotel owners to prepare for tourists who will travel in the months to come.
He said there will be some price adjustments after tourists can enter Thailand more steadily.
The country’s tourism sector has struggled for two years due to the pandemic.
In response, Mr Pisut called on the government to expand the duration of the “We Travel Together” hotel subsidy programme to boost domestic tourism.
Mr Pisut believed that a lower cost to enter Thailand would help increase the number of tourists by the end of next month, especially those coming from India.
As for Vietnamese tourists, he estimated that there will be a significant increase after June or July.
Wasan Sanguantoikam, member of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, said bars and restaurants will be allowed to serve alcohol until 12am from May 1.
He also said many entrepreneurs who earlier gave up on their businesses have now decided to resume operations.
People in Pattaya’s walking streets are renovating their stores to welcome more tourists after May 1.
The number of visitors to Pattaya is expected to increase no less than 20 to 30%.