The President of the Eastern Thai Hotels Association, in a discussion with Thai media yesterday, September 22nd, said the association is prepared for the likely announcement that opening for vaccinated foreign tourists in Pattaya will be postponed to November 1st.
A recap of some of our prior articles around the proposed plan is below:
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. Pisoon Saekoo, the president of the Eastern Thai Hotels Association, told reporters, “The opening for foreign tourists will almost certainly be postponed to November 1st. This follows internal discussions from the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Ministry of Public Health asking for more time to further accelerate the vaccination program in the Kingdom before reopening the country and allowing all business sectors to reopen.”
“As a hotel association, we are not ready to do the marketing. Marketing in general to overseas tourists has been postponed since August time and again. This has reduced the confidence of tourism operators and foreign tourists due to measurements that always change. We must have several weeks to prepare, many of our hotels will need this time just to get their staff ready to work again.” Pisoon stated.
“We think this coming Pattaya high season will have little to no foreign tourists as we previously expected due to constant changes in measurements, rules, and policies. Our foreign customers will likely only be ex-pats who live in Thailand.” Pisoon explained.
“One of the main reasons that foreign tourists are not coming this high season is the vaccination levels have not reached the target goals that the government has set. Additionally, the goalposts appear to be changing as now health officials are talking about 80% vaccination for “Covid-Free” zones like Pattaya and to be able to open high-risk sectors, like nightlife and entertainment, that is popular with tourists. Keeping the nightlife industry shuttered will not be popular with many foreign tourists, although many Thai domestic tourists are not bothered with this, primarily being concerned with the islands and beaches and seafood restaurants.” Pisoon continued.
“In Bangkok, they currently have reached about 90 percent of the population being vaccinated for their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. However, the second dose is substantially lower and according to the Bangkok Governor needs about 4 to 6 more weeks to get to acceptable levels where he and the Ministry of Public Health would feel confident about reopening to foreign tourists without quarantine.” Pisoon added.
“As for Banglamung and Sattahip, we haven’t reached 70 percent in terms of second doses yet. Pattaya City proper has made significant process and has reached the goal, but health officials are concerned with the overall district as well as concerned about the level of vaccination in proximity areas like Bangkok.” Pisoon said.
“Even though new cases of Covid -19 have decreased in Chonburi and Thailand, new clusters have continued, especially in the industrial sector and migrant community,” Pisoon explained.
“The Covid -19 situation in Thailand is not stable. This is one reason that the government has to postpone the plan to open cities one month further. We hope, however, that there will be no further delays as the hotel industry has continually warned that without significant government aid we cannot make it through the high season without at the very least being able to welcome back domestic tourism and people being confident about traveling with limited hassle and paperwork.” Pisoon concluded.
The Pattaya News notes that a delay on opening is not yet official, the meetings are taking place the next few days, with a large Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) meeting set for Monday, September 27th. However, there was never a definitive official policy to open on October 1st either, TPN notes.
Stay tuned Monday for results from the official CCSA meeting in Bangkok.