Traders demand more than apology to rescue Rayong business

Traders demand more than apology to rescue Rayong business

PM visiting province to boost confidence

A dog enjoys a walk at Saeng Chan, one of the popular beaches in Muang district of Rayong, on Tuesday. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
A dog enjoys a walk at Saeng Chan, one of the popular beaches in Muang district of Rayong, on Tuesday. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The Rayong Chamber of Commerce is calling for more than an apology from the government to save the tourism sector, after mass hotel cancellations sparked by fears of catching coronavirus disease.

Provincial trade body chairman Noppadol Tangsongcharoen told PPTV on Wednesday local operators needed measures to aid their businesses, not just an apology from the government.

Mr Noppadol wanted more subsidies from the government for hotels and resorts in Rayong, other than the destinations in two government-supported packages worth 22.4 billion baht offered for online registration on Wednesday.

One of the fruit capitals of the eastern region and famous for its sandy beaches, the province hoped tourism would help revitalise the economy with a four-day holiday later this month.

Mr Noppadol said up to 90% of reservations had been cancelled at some resorts following the news an Egyptian soldier infected with the coronavirus had stayed in the municipality. He was part of a visiting military delegation.

"Rayong is still safe. If not, I would not live here," he said.

The room cancellations would have a chain reaction on other tourism-related businesses, such as restaurants and shops.

In the municipality alone, Rayong has about 30 hotels and more than 1,600 rooms, according to the Rayong Municipality website.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday apologised to the public for lax quarantine measures for privileged foreigners entering the country.

The government is under fire over two incidents -  the Egyptian case and a daughter of a Sudanese diplomat being found infected with the virus a while after the family arrived from Khartoum. The two groups were not required to enter quarantine, and failed to distance themselves to prevent the spread of the virus.

Gen Prayut and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul were to visit Rayong on Wednesday afternoon in a bid to renew public confidence in the province, with people there and elsewhere alarmed by the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 cases. 

There is a long holiday weekend from July 25-28. July 27 is a substitute day for Songkran and July 28 is  His Majesty the King's birthday.

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