When Pattaya opens to foreign tourists, city plans to focus on Indians and Russian visitors first

PHOTO: Sophon Cable TV (STV)

Pattaya –

The Pattaya Business and Tourism Association (PBTA) plans to focus on Indian and Russian tourists first when the city is open to vaccinated foreign tourists.

Mr. Boonanan Pattanasin, the president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, (PBTA) told The Pattaya News yesterday afternoon, September 21st, “Many cities might have postponed the plan to open for foreign tourists. However, Pattaya is ready to open as early as October 1st, if given permission by the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).”

PHOTO: Sophon Cable TV (STV)

“Our largest number of tourists used to be Chinese, however, the Chinese government still has not allowed their citizens to go out from the country in tour groups. Additionally, China has a major mandatory quarantine of three weeks for the majority of any citizens who can leave to return home at this time which is not conducive to tourism. As China continues to pursue a “Zero Covid” strategy, it is unlikely that this will change anytime in the near future, whereas Thailand and Pattaya are moving to a “living with Covid-19” strategy.” Boonanon explained to TPN media.

“Therefore, we are now focusing on Indian and Russian tourists which are allowed to travel from their countries. They are still interested in Pattaya and our business and tourism industry partners report regular, intense interest from citizens from both countries on visiting Pattaya.” Boonanan added.

TPN media notes that our own editors and staff get dozens of messages from Indian nationals in particular weekly through our various contact channels about when Thailand, and Pattaya specifically, will be open to Indian visitors without quarantine. Although we get questions from citizens from other countries, this is by far the most dominant.

“In addition, India and Russia have no to very limited/loose rules about quarantine when citizens go back to their countries while some of our other previous tourist hotspots like Korea and Taiwan still have mandatory quarantine upon return.” Boonanon continued.

“This is another factor that is a major roadblock for tourists who wish to go traveling abroad. Western countries like the UK and Australia also have extensive quarantine measures upon return, which will limit those markets. The USA, however, has been a major provider of tourists for the Sandbox and has no quarantine rules upon return or ban on leaving and will likely also provide some level of visitors when restrictions are eased in Thailand, although due to distance and price will be nowhere near the level of Russian and Indian visitors.” Boonanon stated.

“The biggest issue with Indian visitors in particular, besides quarantine of course, which is unacceptable to them as most come for short visits due to flight times of only a few hours, is that they have been restricted from coming for tourism (other than limited groups for business or with family) or the sandbox program since earlier this year due to concerns about the Delta variant outbreak. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is working closely with relevant government agencies to end this ban on Indian tourists, especially before Pattaya reopens, as we believe they will be a major factor for tourism success locally. This is not an issue for Russians, who are allowed to visit, however, also are not interested in quarantines.” Boonanon added.

“Many residents and business owners are still afraid of another wave of the pandemic when Pattaya truly opens to foreign tourists without quarantine but the business community wants to stress to the government that lockdown measures, such as closing businesses, restricting popular tourist activities like drinking alcohol, nightlife, curfews, etc. are not a longterm solution. Once Pattaya is open, we cannot keep having kneejerk reactions the moment there are a few Covid-19 cases, especially in vaccinated people and asymptomatic, and closing business sectors. Pattaya is sitting around 70% vaccinated and will reach the goals set by the CCSA for reopening this month, being fully ready to welcome tourists.” Boonanon said.

“The economy has to move on because the economic problems have gone on for approaching two years, devastating Pattaya’s tourism economy and business community. Vaccination is clearly the answer, as is living with Covid-19, we must move forward and not look backward to lockdowns and restrictions to welcome back tourists.” Boonanon concluded.

TPN media notes that meetings around when exactly Pattaya will likely start a program to allow in foreign vaccinated tourists, with rules, are scheduled to take place with the CCSA over the next several days, culminating in a major meeting next Monday, September 27th.

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Goong Nang is a News Translator who has worked professionally for multiple news organizations in Thailand for many years and has worked with The Pattaya News for more than three years. Specializes primarily in local news for Phuket, Pattaya, and also national news, with emphasis on translation between Thai to English and working as an intermediary between reporters and English-speaking writers. Originally from Nakhon Si Thammarat, but lives in Phuket and Krabi except when commuting between the three.