Thailand’s Pattaya reopening likely to be postponed as COVID-19 cases surge

Aerial view of Pattaya , Thailand .

Bangkok, Aug. 23 (Xinhua) — Thailand’s tourism hotspot Pattaya may delay its planned reopening to vaccinated travelers on Sept. 1, as the city is dealing with insufficient vaccinations among locals and a spike in new infections.

Local media on Monday quoted Apichai Chatchalermkit, deputy governor of digitalization research and development at the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) as saying, the authorities are still committed to reopening the resort city within October, in line with the government’s plan to fully reopen the country in near future.

A similar message has also been announced on Aug. 21 by Bun-anan Phatthanasin, president of Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, as he indicated that the city needs to get at least 70 percent of its population vaccinated against COVID-19 before reopening to inbound foreign travelers.

The vaccination rate in Chon Buri province where Pattaya is located just reached 33 percent of its population, a long way to go before achieving the proclaimed target of 70 percent.

The authority is also dealing with a surge in daily infections, which has exceeded 1,000 cases since the end of July. The city has ramped up active case tracking in order to provide treatment to people infected with the virus.

Thailand planned to gradually reopen 10 popular tourist destinations including Phuket, Koh Samui, Pattaya and more to foreign tourists by the end of October. Some of these places such as Phuket and Koh Samui have already successfully reopened to international tourism.

In 2019, Pattaya city welcomed around 9.44 million foreign visitors, of which the majority were from China and Russia.