Pattaya vendors pray for tourists

After having had to close their businesses for two months due to Covid-19, vendors along Pattaya beaches are now praying tourists will return after the government initiated its Phase-2 easing of lockdown measures.

The beach in Pattaya was once packed with tourists but has been deserted since the emergency decree began on March 9, reducing the number of jet skis, banana boats and people.

Many vendors were not optimistic on Monday, when Phase 2 began and when the beaches were allowed to reopen and water sports could resume, after only two visitors rented boats.

"Foreign tourists -- my main clients -- will not return in the near future," the owner of a massage parlour at the southern end of Pattaya beach told the Bangkok Post.

She said vendors relying on domestic tourists, who make up 45% of all Pattaya's visitors, are keeping expectations low.

"The problem is that despite the easing of the lockdown, the city of Pattaya is still keeping the [nearby] Walking Street that attracts many tourists and visitors closed," she said.

"The government and local administration must reopen Pattaya's Walking Street if they want to see tourists return," the businesswoman said.

She said massage parlours have suffered due to the coronavirus outbreak, and the government's handouts have hardly helped.

The lockdown has hit vendors on Pattaya beach very hard with some having been left penniless.

Meanwhile, a Croatian football coach who moved to Pattaya just over a year ago said there is a bright side to the lockdown.

"I enjoy social distancing and the beach having been closed has meant nature and the sea have had time to recover [from human activity]," he said. "Now the town can reopen in a better environmental condition."

Related search: tourists, vendors, banana boats, coronavirus outbreak

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Writer: Gary Boyle
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