By Barry Kenyon

Anything and everything about Thailand
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gerefan
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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by gerefan »

Barry Kenyon wrote:
Mon Aug 30, 2021 11:15 am
The British government’s move to change Thailand’s Covid status was mostly unexpected as infection numbers here are falling.
Wrong. It’s been talked about for weeks and even mentioned in gay forums.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Ghost city Pattaya loses some of its chains

By Barry Kenyon

September 2, 2021

Pattaya made the most of its new freedoms on day one of the government’s limited liberalization of red zone provinces. The barbers and salons did a roaring trade as men and women badly needed a haircut after six weeks of deprivation. The flashing and rotating red, white and blue poles – in the same nationalistic colours as the Thai flag – seemed to issue a defiant electronic message that Pattaya was still alive and kicking.

The restaurants were thankful too. In a last minute reprieve, the government withdrew its unrealistic demand for all customers and staff to be doubly-vaccinated and instead mandated strict health and safety rules. Koy, licensee of the popular Caddy Shack eatery, said, “Our customers are delighted to enjoy a dine-in British breakfast after a long period of take-outs and deliveries only.” Yupin, owner of the upscale Jomtien restaurant, added, “We can’t serve alcohol with the meals yet, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.”

Not all restaurants decided to open. Minor Foods, which operates Sizzler branches amongst other favorites, closed 300 outlets nationally during the lockdown and is reopening 186. A spokesman pointed out that foreign tourists have yet to come back whilst rent, salaries and raw materials have to be paid for. The latest government rules restrict customers to 50-75 percent of capacity depending on whether the premises are air-conditioned or open air.

The green light was also given to massage parlors but for foot rubbing purposes only. In Pattaya, those which had survived the most recent lockdown opened on time, but about half of the 800 former businesses remain shuttered, either longterm or permanent. In Jomtien’s Soi Welcome an entrepreneurial lady Miss Visa said, “We have to close for curfew from 9 pm to 4 am, but we can offer you a foot massage upstairs for several hours until the morning.” She added that if you got bored, then there was a selection of videos from Hollywood. However, the DVD recorder needed repairing.

All the major malls and shopping centers reopened, although customers were thin on the ground. Every unit in Central Festival Pattaya Beach was open for business, with the solitary exception of spas which are still excluded by order of the provincial governor. But the busiest floor was number six where the Bangkok Hospital Pattaya is regularly hosting vaccinations for foreigners and Thais with appointments. At Terminal 21, the most recently-opened upscale mall, a manager said that business would pick up at the weekend as Bangkok residents flocked to the resort.

The beaches are back in business too. On Jomtien promenade, most of the deckchairs had been uncovered from their binding ropes, but Pattaya was less fortunate. Here, the alleged beautification of the main sand stretch means that bulldozers and tractors deter even the hardiest sun worshipper, whilst some sections are completely barricaded. At the south end of the beach area, the Walking Street is entirely blocked by the vehicles of the provincial electricity authority which is burying the overhead cables. Of course, the bars and clubs are closed by order. So it really doesn’t matter.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... ins-370127

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Pattaya adopts wait and see approach to upcoming tourist “surge”

By Barry Kenyon

September 7, 2021

The hope by Thai authorities that the final months of the year will lead to a flood of international Sandbox visitors in tourist-starved Pattaya have been met with a shrug of the shoulders by many business owners. Beach chair concessionaire Dej Anuman said, “We have heard it all before with snowbird flights from Europe and travel bubbles from China, but none of it actually happened.” It’s a common shoulder-shrug response in a depressed city.

The Sandbox initiative, known as Move On Pattaya, enables fully vaccinated tourists from next month to avoid isolation-quarantine on entry, although they must sleep in their chosen hotels and restrict sightseeing to “sealed routes” and government-approved venues and facilities for the first two weeks of their stay. Additional requirements are ongoing Covid health checks and use of a trace and track app to ensure they restrict their mobility.

A spokesman for the Bangkok-based tourist authority stressed that only Thailand in the entire Pacific-rim region is offering tourist vacations. “Vietnam has banned international vacationers altogether. The situation in the Philippines is the same whilst Cambodia, which is more dependent on tourism than Thailand in gross domestic product terms, still restricts entry to business people and family members.” He explained that the uniqueness was Thailand’s best selling point.

Encouraged by the semi-reopening of the economy and a continuing decline in coronavirus cases, the Thai stock market has now reached its highest point for two years. National Security Council Secretary-General Natthapol Nakpanich said that the state of emergency could end this month, with the health department taking over virus policy from the dictatorial Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

But significant doubts remain. The Phuket Sandbox attracted almost 30,000 visitors in the last two and a half months, but almost 25 percent of the total were British and American vacationers. They have now been told to avoid red-zone Thailand at their peril and, in the case of Brits, must spend an extra 2,285 pounds on compulsory quarantine once they arrive back in the UK. The next British travel destination revisions are due on September 25.

Moreover, the Phuket Sandbox has attracted some bad publicity. The admission rules continually moved goalposts and many promises, such as being able to drink alcohol with meals, were broken because of increasing virus infections on the island. There was huge international publicity after German tourist Stefanie Korenyi was forced into strict quarantine because she was sat next to a flight passenger who tested positive for the virus.

There is currently much speculation about the possibility of ending the bureaucratic certificate of entry which must be obtained by all travellers to Thailand from their local Thai embassy or consulate. But its abolition does not mean that holidaymakers would revert to hopping on a plane armed only with their passport. The embassies would continue to be responsible for longer tourist and non-immigrant visas, whilst 30/45 days visa-free travellers will presumably need a double vaccination certificate and – probably – Covid health insurance.

In other words, a reduction in the role of embassies could well mean long delays at Thai airports as officers plough through the voluminous paperwork. Meanwhile, the government has announced that from October 1 any visitors to high-risk venues such as barber shops, massage parlours and even malls will need to sign in with a government-approved app. Nor is there any sign at present that alcohol may be bought and consumed in any restaurant, bar or club. Not to mention the overnight curfew which now starts at 10 pm, rather than 9 pm, if you need to use a bus or a train.

Greg Watkins, who heads a UK travel consortium based in Manchester, said, “There is a pent up market in the UK for Thailand in general and Pattaya in particular. But what we are looking for is a simple entry system requiring only a double vaccination certificate and not a huge bureaucracy with a stack of documents. We also need to know how tourists will enjoy themselves apart from sitting on the beach. You can’t sell Pattaya in Britain by promising escorted visits to temples and parks in the first two weeks.” Can’t argue with that.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... rge-370904

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Do YOU agree with any of these (not necessarily fully) or do you think something not mentioned in this article will be Pattaya's future? Let us know what YOU think.
________________________________________________

Debates rage about the five future scenarios for Pattaya

By Barry Kenyon

September 11, 2021

The virus pandemic has certainly turned up the heat on what Pattaya will look like in two or five years from now. Projections range from the ghost city scenario to an upmarket business center to rival Miami in the United States. Here are the choices.


The Zombie Apocalypse
This ultra-pessimistic view, much loved by some keyboard warriors, assumes that Pattaya’s tourist collapse is permanent as the coronavirus ravage will go on and on. The only people remaining will be a zombie crowd of bored expats who can’t find anything to do now that alcohol has been closed off as an avenue of communal pleasure. A variation on this theme is the ghost city future in which padlocks, crumbling edifices and pneumatic drills become the new normal throughout Pattaya and Jomtien.


The Good Old Days
An alternative prediction, also popular on social media, is that Pattaya is good only for one thing – selling sex – which will return once the virus decides to call it a day and the bars and clubs reopen. The trouble with this view is that sex tourism had already declined substantially as a Pattaya income earner even before the pandemic struck. The newer generation of tourists, mostly from China and India, preferred to buy whiskey at the 7/11 stores on the Walking Street rather than to pay exorbitant prices to see chrome pole dancers shuffling their feet onstage with bored indifference.


Only for the Rich
The Tourist Authority of Thailand argues that Thailand can find at least one million new expats who will benefit the Thai treasury by billions in any currency. Ideas include allowing foreigners to buy freehold property in selected estates (including Pattaya) and removal of immigration restrictions for Elite card holders and well-heeled digital nomads. There’s even the suggestion of permanent residency for foreign investors who keep on signing cheques. But none of these initiatives have yet surfaced – except the four-year Smart visa which does not require a work permit – and it is far from clear how many of these wealthy foreign guys and gals are actually out there.


The Chinese Takeover
This issue first surfaced 10 years ago as hundreds of Chinese tour buses clogged the main roads by day and parked by night near the new-generation of glitzy cabarets on Pattaya’s Thepprasit Road. During the pandemic, the worries have increased as new reports reveal that most foreign-bought Pattaya condominiums are purchased by Chinese investors who are now also looking to buy local hotels which can’t repay their loans during the recession. However, travel gurus doubt that zero-sum tours will resume on the scale they once were, whilst real estate agencies report a falling-off of interest by Chinese investors.


The Satellite City
The last prediction is that Pattaya will transform itself into a new international business and family-orientated leisure resort, backed by the investment privileges afforded by the internationally-funded Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). Supporters of this vision point to developments such as new motorways, the Bali Hai pier renovation and the projected hi-speed railway linking the Eastern Seaboard with Bangkok. In due course, neo or new Pattaya will become a satellite division of the metropolis. But critics say that the EEC may not attract the necessary funds in future, whilst Pattaya infrastructure (especially flooding and roads) remains inadequate to qualify for high status.


The Conclusion
There is some truth in all the propositions. Pattaya is going to have empty commercial and residential properties on a large scale for many years. The nitery scene will survive on a less robust scale, but will become more expensive and be based in outer city areas. Thailand could attract some big international spenders and investors via investment and immigration perks, but whether they will choose Pattaya as a permanent base is a moot point. Chinese influence in Pattaya will grow, but not necessarily evenly, whilst the satellite city model is likely too ambitious in the near term. Post pandemic, Pattaya will continue to change and adapt over the years. But you can forget about a new Miami any time soon.

https://www.pattayamail.com/news/debate ... aya-371526

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Somewhere between these 2:

The Zombie Apocalypse
This ultra-pessimistic view, much loved by some keyboard warriors, assumes that Pattaya’s tourist collapse is permanent as the coronavirus ravage will go on and on. The only people remaining will be a zombie crowd of bored expats who can’t find anything to do now that alcohol has been closed off as an avenue of communal pleasure. A variation on this theme is the ghost city future in which padlocks, crumbling edifices and pneumatic drills become the new normal throughout Pattaya and Jomtien.

The Chinese Takeover
This issue first surfaced 10 years ago as hundreds of Chinese tour buses clogged the main roads by day and parked by night near the new-generation of glitzy cabarets on Pattaya’s Thepprasit Road. During the pandemic, the worries have increased as new reports reveal that most foreign-bought Pattaya condominiums are purchased by Chinese investors who are now also looking to buy local hotels which can’t repay their loans during the recession. However, travel gurus doubt that zero-sum tours will resume on the scale they once were, whilst real estate agencies report a falling-off of interest by Chinese investors.

Expats living here have reached an age that they are comfortable with less and still enjoy a relatively low cost of living, most probably sold their house, condo etc. in their home country and are here till the end.
Only the rich option is a joke as these people have much better options than Pattaya. Satellite City is a possible but most reading this won’t be here to see it!
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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Gaybutton »

I am hoping for "The Good Old Days" option. I don't expect Pattaya to resurrect itself to the way it used to be when there were so many go-go bars, huge numbers of boys, and plenty of farang customers for all of it. But I see no reason to think at least some form of it will return and perhaps build up over the years. Why not?

I don't think there will a "Chinese Takeover", at least not in the Chinese tourism way as it was before. I hope we won't see a repeat of that and the hordes of tour buses that plagued Pattaya's streets and making the air unfit to breathe.

If the Chinese want to buy condos and hotels, so what? I don't see why that would be a problem. For all I know, maybe much of it already is, and has been, Chinese owned. I don't know or care who owns these places. The Chinese government ought to learn they don't have to threaten, crack down, or go to war to take over other countries. All they have to do is buy them - and they seem to have plenty of money to do it.

I also would have no objection if, and only if, they want to buy up the gay bars and continue them as gay bars. I think Chinese bar owners would have much more success at getting the powers-that-be to leave us alone and let the bars be the way they were 25-30 years ago - without the excessively loud music.

Ok, now you've heard from Undaunted and me. How about the rest of you. You must have opinions. Let's hear them.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Jun »

Barry Kenyon wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:32 am
The Zombie Apocalypse
Only likely if tourists are prevented from coming to Pattaya or priced out of it by high oil prices, taxes on flying etc.

Barry Kenyon wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:32 am
The Good Old Days
I don't see it ever getting back to what it was, but still expect Pattaya will have more entertainment options than most cities.

Barry Kenyon wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:32 am
Only for the Rich
Currently Pattaya has lots of budget hotels. I can't imagine the rich will want to stay in such places, so to appeal to the rich and turn away their traditional customers, they probably need to demolish 75% of Pattaya and build some high end resorts. Writing off all that sank capital and investing in re-building is not good business. Whilst they are doing it, the building work is hardly going to help either.
So no chance of this working.


Barry Kenyon wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:32 am
The Chinese Takeover
All depends on Mr Xi. As long as he carries on with 2 week quarantine for all returning tourists, that will reduce their numbers. Let's hope it continues for a while.
Of course, Chinese investors might try making money out of the rest of us.


Barry Kenyon wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:32 am
The Satellite City
I'm not sure what family friendly is, but imagine it ought to include some zoning that packs the sleaze away to defined areas. Not much sign of that.
As for business friendly, well there is only one type of business that seems to thrive in Pattaya.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by RichLB »

My view on the future of Pattaya is a lot rosier than that of a lot of people's. Pattaya offers a diverse array of attractions that appeal to a wide variety of tourists. Central to many visitors is the beach and the city is already taking steps to make it more attractive to tourists and locals - not only international travelers but also those seeking to escape chaotic Bangkok. While the sex sector is a lure to many I think those venues will remain, but only those offering something more than lackadaisical gogo dancers. The city already has semi zoned these establishments in defined areas (Boyztown, Jomtien Complex, Sunee Plaza, Waling Street, and Soi 6). Of course some independent shops (karaoke, massage shops, discos) spring up and establish a client base elsewhere. Pattaya also houses a lot of great tourist venues (Nong Nooch, Floating Market, Temple of Truth, Mini Siam, more Wats than you can count, Tiffany's, Alcazar, etc.) which promise to entertain visitors. There's also the appeal of shopping - everything from several high end malls to Jomtien and Pattaya Night Markets to countless specialty shops designed to capture tourist dollars. For the more adventurous and active; jet skiing, para sailing, snorkeling, go karts, even fishing and a lot of other things are here. And for foodies, I can't imagine a better place. Deciding where to eat can be boggling. There's everything from authentic international fare to noodle shops and street food to satisfy even the most picky eaters. And most important are the Thai people themselves! Sure, there are some bad apples, but Thais deservedly earn their reputation for friendliness and kindness.
It's easy for those of us who live here to take a lot of this for granted. Couple all the above (and more) with a very low cost of living and easy access (usually within 15 minutes from anywhere) and I think Pattaya will continue to be a world class destination.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Jun wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:07 pm
As for business friendly, well there is only one type of business that seems to thrive in Pattaya.
Good point . . .

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Undaunted »

RichLB wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 6:04 pm
Pattaya will continue to be a world class destination.
I must have missed when it was!
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