Hospitality and tourism business operators in Pattaya city have welcomed the government’s decision to include the city, part of Bang Lamung district, and other districts of the coastal province in the tourism sandbox scheme.
This means Pattaya can expect to begin welcoming international tourists under the tourism promotion scheme as well as the Covid-19 Test & Go programme which is due to resume next month.
Chon Buri is also among eight selected provinces piloting a tourism reopening plan where alcohol beverages can be served until 11pm, compared to 9pm under the current curbs, says the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
The other seven provinces in this so-called Blue Zone, in which restaurants meeting Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus standards will be allowed to serve alcohol to their customers, are Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Krabi, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Phangnga and Phuket.
Responding to the CCSA’s decision to allow of Pattaya and Chon Buri to ease Covid-19 restrictions for the sake of tourism, Pattaya City mayor Sonthaya Khunpluem said both are important tourist destinations and local businesses would strictly adhere to the any CCSA guidance regarding necessary Covid-19 control measures.
Phisit Saekhu, president of the association of hoteliers in the eastern provinces, welcomed the news.
Before the recent suspension of the Thailand Pass registration system for international tourists, about 500 tourists arrived in Pattaya each day. During the suspension, only 100 people visited per day, he said.
When the Test & Go programme was suspended earlier this month due to a surge in number of new Covid-19 infections, business operators in Pattaya were badly hit, he said.
He said he would like the government to consider relaxing more restrictions when the situation improves.
The new requirement for tourists to undergo an RT-PCR Covid-19 test twice, first upon their arrival and the second test on the fifth day of their stay, should be reduced to just the initial test, or perhaps have the second screening replaced by a rapid antigen test instead, he said.
Damrongkiat Phinitkan, secretary of Pattaya City’s association for entertainment and tourism, meanwhile, urged the government to allow live performances at nightspots.