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Thai tourists will be the main focus for Pattaya

Pattaya City and tour operators will target Thai tourists instead of foreigners during the approaching traditional high season, with the country’s reopening to international travellers again delayed.

Pattaya mayor Sonthaya Khunplome said on Friday that the planned reopening of five tourist provinces, including Chon Buri, could be postponed from Oct 1 to Nov 1.

Most vaccinated people in those provinces had received only their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and the Public Health Ministry was concerned about public safety.

He said Pattaya City had already allocated budgets for events from October to the end of the year and he hoped they could attract Thai tourists.

Boon-anant Patanasin, president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, said there had been a clear policy to reopen more tourist provinces on Oct1, but the government was likely to postpone it.

That really confused tourists, who could not make plans for a vacation in Thailand, he said.

Tourism-based businesses in Pattaya were already prepared for the reopening. Without a clear schedule they would have to concentrate on attracting Thai tourists during annual high season, instead of foreign visitors, just to keep their operations afloat, Mr Boon-anant said.

On a monthly basis, there would be small events to draw domestic tourists to Pattaya. Many Thais visited Pattaya on weekends, he said.

Events would include fireworks shows, a food festival and the Loy Krathong and New Year festivals, Mr Boon-anant said.

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