Pattaya 'on track' to reopen Oct 1

Pattaya 'on track' to reopen Oct 1

Alcazar theatre will still be shuttered

Tourists relax on Pattaya beach in Chon Buri province in October last year. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong)
Tourists relax on Pattaya beach in Chon Buri province in October last year. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong)

Pattaya is on track to restarting its tourism sector on Oct 1, although the schedule could be deferred, said Pattaya City mayor Sonthaya Khunpluem.

The so-called ''Pattaya Moves On'' tourism sandbox remains on track for reopening on Oct 1 as confirmed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Tourism and Sports Ministry, Mr Sonthaya said.

Chon Buri is one of five provinces planned for the Oct 1 reopening. However, only tourist-magnet areas and the districts of such provinces will see the resumption of tourism businesses.

The five provinces are Bangkok, Chon Buri (Pattaya City, Bang Lamung district, and Sattahip district), Phetchaburi (Cha-am district), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin district) and Chiang Mai (Muang, Mae Taeng, Mae Rim and Doi Tao districts).

TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn said on Saturday that the five provinces, except for Bangkok, are now ready for reopening.

Bangkok has consistently reported the highest daily caseloads -- with governor Aswin Kwanmuang spelling out three conditions for the capital's return to tourism: 70% of its population being fully jabbed by around Oct 22; higher drops in daily infections and bigger drops in hospitalisation.

Pol Gen Aswin was looking at reopening close to the middle of November.

On Tuesday, Mr Sonthaya said Pattaya was fully prepared to welcome back foreign visitors on Oct 1, although he has made room for disappointment if the date were to be pushed back.

The Pattaya Moves On programme will follow the standards of tourism sandbox practices adopted by Phuket where foreign visitors must be fully vaccinated, are subject to Covid-19 tests during their stay and travel in sealed routes.

"We will comply with additional measures that might be put in place for enhanced public health safety," he said.

Mr Sonthaya added the rate of vaccination was crucial for restoring tourism. He said 70% of those living in Pattaya are immunised.

Meanwhile, the famed Alcazar Cabaret Show theatre, one of Pattaya's main draw cards, is not yet ready for reopening on Oct 1.

Alcazar executive Pawin Phettrakul, 42, said that since the outbreak of Covid-19 in February last year Pattaya has been almost without tourists -- particularly foreigners, who constituted the majority of its customers.

Before Covid-19, Alcazar was one of the city's two best-known theatres presenting shows with colourfully costumed transgender performers and high-tech lighting. The other was Tiffany's. Both are on Pattaya Sai 2 Road in Bang Lamung district.

But with no money coming in, Alcazar had temporarily closed. However, it had continued to take care of its staff of about 400, Mr Pawin said.

The executive said Alcazar would remain closed on Oct 1 because more than 90% of its normal customers were foreign tourists.

It would reopen once foreign tourists had the confidence to return and arrivals were steady.

When Alcazar does reopen, the audience for each show would have to be reduced from about 1,000 to 500.

They would have to be fully vaccinated and observe health safety rules such as social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing, Mr Pawin said.

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