The three-day holiday weekend for Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day in Pattaya was, according to both reporters on the ground and local business owners who spoke to The Pattaya News, quieter than expected.
Many local businesses had hoped that the holiday weekend would bring out many people from Bangkok, especially considering that Bangkok remains a “red zone” for Covid-19, which means that alcohol cannot be sold in restaurants and entertainment venues like bars remain closed.
However, the weekend only saw what appeared to be a very slight increase in traffic and domestic tourism for a variety of factors. Previous holiday weekends last year before the second round of Covid-19 shut Chonburi to domestic travel for nearly a month were significantly busier.
One of the biggest factors in fewer visitors was that the majority of hotels in Pattaya remain closed to collect social security and government benefits. The Governor signed this order at the end of last month, although some hotels did opt-out and stay open.
Additionally, entertainment venues and bars have to close by 11:00 P.M. and law enforcement was enforcing this rule fairly strictly across Pattaya, especially on Valentine’s Day night. As a city known for its pulsing nightlife, the early closure is a major deterrent and has seen many businesses choose not to re-open until lifted.
Finally, a major driving factor in crowds of visitors last year were highly successful events that Pattaya held nearly every weekend-from food festivals, to Loy Krathong, to the Pattaya Music Festival and a fireworks festival, these were all highly successful events.
Business and hospitality owners, especially hotel owners, want to see these events return in order to open their hotels and be profitable. However, the situation with Covid-19 is still not completely resolved and Chonburi remains an “orange zone”, although this may be considered for a reduction in the near future to yellow, which would allow midnight closing and looser restrictions around gatherings.
Pattaya City leaders state they are looking into future events cautiously, targeting Songkran specifically in April as a “strong possibility” for a major event if the situation continues to improve around Covid-19.