As the Chinese novel Coronavirus problem worsens in China with the country banning all group tours and more and more countries stopping flights and increasing VISA restrictions for individual travelersz the tourism industry across Thailand is feeling the effects already in what may be a problem that will go on for months.
More than 300 tour buses in Phuket have been parked for over a week with no Chinese tour group arrivals because of the coronavirus outbreak.
In Pattaya, The Pattaya News can confirm that the normal hundreds of busses seen at Bali Hai and local tourist attractions and shows are nearly gone…leaving the attractions struggling to bring in other customers. Many of the tourist attractions locally primarily relied on Chinese tourists for revenue, especially markets, cabaret shows, sporting events, island tours, shopping malls and themed attractions.
Many operators have been badly hit since the Chinese government banned all outbound group travel by its citizens on Jan 25 as it tried to contain the spread of the virus that originated in Wuhan.
A worried market vendor, who declined to be named at a local market spoke to the Pattaya News and stated “Chinese customers are my main source of income. Without them I cannot pay my rent and live. What are we going to do? Yes, we have the Russian tourists but other tourists don’t often come to the tourist markets.”
The Pattaya News visited several local temples, normally full of tourists on a busy weekend and nearly all were deserted save for a few foreign tourists. Concerned vendors who survive on selling trinkets and food to Chinese tourists told us they did not know what they were going to do.
In Pattaya Bay, most of the cruise ship floating restaurants have told the media they will be closing shop for at least thirty days as they are unable to make a profit without Chinese tourists. Many seafood restaurants, who also said they primary customer base is Chinese, also were expressing concern.
Despite the economic concern, nearly everyone the Pattaya News spoke to agreed that the ban was difficult but needed to protect the country and it’s citizens. The Thai government has also said they are working on several programs to help vendors in the tourism industry affected by the ban.
Some tourist attractions, such as Nong Nooch and the Floating Market are running promotions encouraging domestic tourism and for other foreigners to visit, using the fact that it is less crowded as a selling point for those who wish to visit.
Speedboat vendors who relied on Chinese tour groups are focusing on other tourists and also using the less crowded beaches as a selling point to the tourists in Pattaya.