Pattaya tourism leaders call for local sandbox as hotel bookings drop
“The permit to arrive in Thailand is the least of the problems for many potential international tourists, as airlines around the world have canceled services.”
While the southern island of Phuket appears to be one of the winners of recent and selective government changes to its pass options for Thailand, Thailand’s other tourist hotspot outside of Bangkok, Pattaya, has again been left out.
The CCSA last Tuesday afternoon suspended the Test & Go re-entry option until at least January 4, when the system will be reviewed. But the government has promised to honor all existing and approved Test & Go requests before the option closes (as well as requests made before the cut-off time and are still being processed – but not all of them will be. approved).
The government also set aside the country’s Sandbox options, where people could stay for at least 7 days roaming an area, before then being allowed to go anywhere in Thailand … a kind of “regional quarantine.” “. But the Phuket sandbox has been left to operate, while the other sandboxes will remain on hold until at least January 4 (when the CCSA said it would review options).
Thus, in the absence of new Test & Go applications, the net of tourists will continue for a few more weeks in places like Pattaya. But then what?
According to local tourism officials, reservations for hotel rooms in the resort town have declined dramatically, leading to demand for Pattaya to become a sandbox-controlled area like Phuket.
Talk to Pattaya News, Boonanan Pattanasin, president of the Pattaya Businessmen and Tourism Association, said that “the number of hotel rooms booked in Pattaya has decreased dramatically.”
âMany tourists plan to come to Pattaya during the peak season from January to February. We need the Test & Go system to stay open for this registration so that tourists can come to Pattaya after New Years or allow Pattaya to become a sandbox.
âPattaya is similar to Phuket. We have many tourist attractions and businesses and depend on tourism for around 85% of our GDP.
Tourists wishing to travel to Pattaya, or anywhere else in the country, at that time will needâ¦.
- An approved Thailand Pass Test & Go permit that was issued before midnight on Tuesday evening (December 21).
- A Thailand Pass Test & Go permit which was requested before midnight on Tuesday evening (December 21) and has since been approved
- Approved re-entry into the sandbox (for one of the sandboxes) approved by midnight Tuesday evening (December 21), or a request made by the deadline that has since been approved
But people wishing to travel to Pattaya, or anywhere else in Thailand, even if they missed the deadline last Monday, will still be allowed to enter Thailand via the Phuket sandbox. The Phuket Sandbox is available to fully vaccinated tourists, but requires them to perform a number of PCR tests before and after arrival and to stay on the island for at least 7 days. They must arrive at Phuket International Airport as a point of entry into Thailand.
After 7 days on the island, travelers are allowed to travel anywhere in Thailand.
For unvaccinated travelers who wish to enter Thailand at this time, even during the suspension of the Test & Go program, they can still enter any international airport and undergo a full quarantine, from 10 to 14 days, depending on the country. of origin, to an AQ approved hotel.
For now, with the traditional Christmas and New Year’s peak slipping away, businesses in Pattaya are asking the government for a stay.
âWe are asking the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration that Pattaya be turned into a sandbox during this period of suspension. We have extremely high vaccination rates, incredible hotel capacity, and experienced tourism businesses ready to make this program work. “
One of the advantages of Phuket, geographically, is that the process of isolating all passengers is much easier, with the airport, all accommodation and attractions ALL on one island, separated from the mainland of Thailand by a bridge. 400 meters long.
The suspension last week of the Test & Go and Sandbox programs (excluding Phuket) has confused the plans of many travelers. But the permit to arrive in Thailand is the least of the problems for many potential international tourists. Airlines around the world have canceled services. At least 2 airlines in the United States yesterday announced massive service cancellations due to high sickness rates among their staff.
âUnited, Delta and other U.S. airlines have canceled more than 600 Christmas Eve flights because an increase in Covid-19 cases impacts their staff, the airlines said. The cancellations came as the Transportation Safety Administration said the number of people traveling on vacation was returning to pre-pandemic levels. “ – cbsnews.com
Airlines in other countries are facing similar problems, as the Omicron variant, which is said to be less dangerous but with a much higher infection rate, continues to cause a sharp increase in the number of infections and begins to have a impact on hospital systems in some countries.
Potential travelers also still face issues with return procedures to their home country after traveling to Thailand. The situation is extremely fluid, and changes could still be made to the Thailand Pass and re-entry rules to Thailand at any time, before or after January 4th.
The Thaiger would recommend, if you are still coming to Thailand in the next few weeks, to keep in touch with your airline as well as your local embassy. Also keep reading the Thailand Pass website as well as the tatnews.org website.