Pattaya prepares to reopen the resort to foreign tourists
This seaside resort on Thailand’s east coast has shifted its seat to gain approval for quarantine-free travel on sealed routes through the use of expensive Covid19 testing.
Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, the chairman of the Chonburi tourism board, said potential markets for Pattaya include tourists from Russia, India and foreigners who have families, apartments or factories in industrial estates in the province.
After a discussion with Russia-based tour operator Pegas Touristik, the council has set the fees for three RT-PCR tests of 8,500 baht, in addition, a Covid19 insurance policy of 3,000-5,000 baht is a huge disadvantage for the reopening of the country.
Thanet said that 12-day tourist packages for two people normally cost 30,000 baht. The additional Covid costs directly affect the prices of the tour package.
Thai tourism is now proposing to use antigen test kits, which are cheaper and also give faster results.
The tourism industry is also urging the Thai government to cut landing fees or jet fuel prices for charter flights as well, as this could help the tour operators set an affordable price to attract more tourists.
“We need to strike a balance between public health measures and tourism marketing to make reopening plans more competitive,” Thanet said.
He said that too many requirements have made Thailand an expensive destination compared to competitors for the Russian market such as Venezuela, Turkey and Egypt.
The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Pattaya were approved Monday by the provincial commission on communicable diseases. They allow tourists to travel under sealed routes once they receive a negative test result upon arrival.
However, the tourists will have to stay in a single alternative quarantine or SHA Plus Extra hotel, which have partner hospitals, before moving to another SHA Plus hotel from day eight.
These Pattaya SOPs will be submitted to the Administrative Center for Covid19 Control, the CCSA, next week.
Thanet said operators anticipate recovering international receipts to 20-30% of the 9.4 million arrivals totalled in 2019, in their best-case scenario. The government should prioritize vaccination in the districts that will reopen next month, as the current vaccination rate is only 36-37% of the residents of Banglamung and Sattahip districts, he said.
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