More bad news for Pattaya

Anything and everything about Thailand
Post Reply
User avatar
Gaybutton
Posts: 19010
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:21 am
Location: Thailand
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 1041 times

Re: More bad news for Pattaya

Post by Gaybutton »

The last thing Pattaya or anywhere else in Thailand needs is even more bad news. Bangkok has already announced delaying any reopening until at least mid October, and I have a feeling it will be longer than that.

Now some prominent doctors are urging the government not to permit reopening to foreign tourists, nationwide, at all in October. Even if the government reopens despite the doctors, I'm wondering how many foreign tourists would even want to come if they know doctors are warning not to reopen, but the government is reopening anyway. Add to that all the restrictions tourists would have to face along with all the hoops they would have to jump through just to be able to travel to Thailand at all.

The powers-that-be are publicly optimistic. Behind closed doors, I'm not so sure.

It is a terrible situation. I don't envy those in positions of power who probably realize that no matter what decision they make, it's the wrong decision.
___________________________________________________________________________

Prominent Thai doctors urge government to delay country reopening for foreign tourists

By Nop Meechukhun

16 September 2021

At least two prominent doctors in Thailand who also advise the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, are calling foul at Thailand’s plan to reopen the country in October for foreign vaccinated tourists, warning that it is too risky and too early to do so in their opinions.
Dr. Thira Woratanarat, an associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University, urged the Thai government to delay the country’s reopening project as it might worsen the domestic infection rates.

The doctor stated online today, September 16th, that opening the country in various provinces under the government plan, including Sandbox and 7+7 extensions, will pose a risk of heavy outbreaks due to two risk factors, according to his academic research.

First, people traveling from abroad may be carrying the virus into the area despite the fact that rules, health screenings, and 14-day quarantine may reduce the risk to some extent. However, even fully vaccinated tourists are still likely to be infected during their travels or during their stay in the area.

TPN media notes that data from the Phuket Sandbox project has shown that out of roughly 31,000 visitors only 91, or 0.28 percent, tested positive for Covid-19, most upon arrival at the airport, nearly all asymptomatic, and there have been no reports of clusters or major spread from foreign vaccinated tourists in Phuket. The island is currently suffering from several hundred cases a day but, according to the Ministry of Public Health, the clusters are primarily centered in migrant and fishing communities and not tourist-related areas.

Secondly and most importantly, according to Thira, the policy of opening tourism areas and the country will lead to more people flowing in the area as well as more activities, meetings, trading, services. People will become closer and spend more time together, according to his online statement. Regardless of the “risk factor” of foreign tourists, Dr. Thira believes that many people will attempt to return to opened provinces for work and many venues that are “high risk” will reopen, legally or not, increasing the number of people socializing and gathering and spreading the virus further.

“This is the main risk factor arising from the policy and will result in more spread of infection in the area because there is still an infection in the community. We do not have enough people vaccinated in the country as a whole to support this plan which will cause more movement and more people to flock to tourism areas to look for work, many of who may not be vaccinated yet. These two risk factors will be the consequences of the government reopening policy,” he stated.

The professor also expected that the number of infections in the reopening areas will be significantly increased from 6-8 weeks onwards.

His status added: “Apart from more infections, more number of both sick and dead people could also result in the emergence of new mutants that may be resistant to vaccines and drugs. The situation would go on and on like dominoes and would inevitably affect the economy in the end. We need to fully control the current situation before opening up to tourism. The economy will suffer more and for even longer by trying to reopen to save the “high season.”

“The government should take the last quarter of this year to provide good and effective vaccines to the people in all areas. If they hurriedly open the country and tourism, I can’t see the eyes of victory in any possible way.” Dr. Thira added.

“The current situation is not safe for tourism and the country reopening, it is best to slow down this plan and focus on vaccination country-wide for Quarter 4 and consider moving any tourism reopening plan to Quarter 1 of 2022.” Dr. Thira concluded.

Meanwhile, Dr. Prasit Watanapa, from Siriraj Hospital and their dean of the Faculty of Medicine, also gave his own warnings today which agreed with Dr. Thira’s opinion. He also felt that it was too early to open the country to tourism and foreign tourists and was concerned about possible new variants either entering the country from tourists or a new variant emerging.

Dr. Prasit, however, took a more liberal stance than Dr. Thira, stating that he understood the pain of the economy and business leaders pushing to save their high season and avoid a second year in a row of completely missing Quarter 4. He suggested that rather than open in October, delay everything just a single month, to November, and allow doctors to further rollout the vaccination program nationwide and provide protection to more people before any opening. Dr. Thira, as stated previously, believes the country should wait at least four more months roughly until Quarter 1 of 2022 before he feels enough of the population would be vaccinated to allow a cautious and controlled opening to tourism.

Finally, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is set to meet with the CCSA this upcoming weekend to officially present the plan to reopen the country to tourism. At this point, the plan is still only a proposal and the CCSA, through a spokesperson, has stated they are listening to both the business and medical sector before making a decision on any plans to reopen. The CCSA has acknowledged, however, that the medical and business sector have completely different polarizing views on the direction to take to move forward.

https://thepattayanews.com/2021/09/16/p ... -tourists/

User avatar
Jun
Posts: 3284
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:20 pm
Has thanked: 448 times
Been thanked: 209 times

Re: More bad news for Pattaya

Post by Jun »

Thailand will have to open up sometime, unless they want years of economic stagnation in the tourist areas.

If the vaccination programme has prioritized the older people, then they must be nearing a point where the covid risk is minimal and low compared with other causes of death.

It look like the underlying daily death rate in Thailand without covid is about 1515.
Covid contributes about 180 deaths per day at present, so that's ~12%. Also falling rapidly, probably helped by the vaccination programmes.

User avatar
Gaybutton
Posts: 19010
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:21 am
Location: Thailand
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 1041 times

Re: More bad news for Pattaya

Post by Gaybutton »

Yep, this kind of news is sure to help attract all those multi-millionaires.

Thailand, if you want more money injected into your economy, forget about tricks and gimmicks. Let the ones who you apparently have been blind to all this time do it for you - the expats already here. Personally, I don't give a damn about having to do the 90-day address reports and having to extend my visa every year. I find both absurd and inconvenient, but I don't see either as a major problem. You don't need to offer us perks (although no objection if you do). You want money going into your economy? Release us from that 800,000 baht in a Thai bank requirement and let us start spending what we've got. Wouldn't that be much more beneficial to the economy and to reality than these pipe dreams about attracting hordes of the world's wealthiest?
______________________

Oct 1 reopening up in air

Experts say target may be premature

17 September, 2021

The Public Health Ministry on Thursday addressed concerns raised by academics over the government's plan to reopen the country to vaccinated foreign tourists starting next month.

The plan is in line with the pledge which Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha made in June to welcome vaccinated tourists within 120 days. However, some critics, including academics, have said the government may be acting too early.

Commenting on issues surrounding the plan, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday said medical experts and the Department of Disease Control (DDC) must decide whether the country is ready to reopen.

"The matter cannot be rushed as information on the pandemic situation and risks must be thoroughly addressed," Mr Anutin said, adding the government is ready to lend its full support.

"We cannot order [the reopening] yet because we must investigate academic information and make an assessment."

The degree of the severity of the Covid-19 situation in countries which prospective foreigners may depart from must be taken into account, he said, adding the DDC will make an assessment and present it for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration's (CCSA) consideration.

"If we are not ready, the reopening will not be possible," Mr Anutin said. "We must look at several factors."

Responding to criticism that an Oct 1 reopening may be premature, Mr Anutin said: "No one said the country will reopen on Oct 1."

Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that as of Wednesday more than 70% of residents of Bangkok had been given their first Covid-19 vaccine shots, while 38% had received both jabs.

However, he said Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang and his public health officials agreed most residents are still waiting for their second jabs and these cannot be administered to most of them in time for Oct 1.

The reopening timeline for Bangkok should be postponed from Oct 1 to Oct 15 as the capital is expected to have administered second shots to 70% of its residents by then, Mr Phiphat said.

All 50 districts in the capital will reopen to vaccinated foreign tourists after 70% of Bangkok residents receive their second shots, he said.

Mr Phiphat said personnel in the service industries and public transport drivers must receive two vaccine shots.

If they are not fully vaccinated, they can risk spreading the disease to foreign tourists who use their services, he said, adding the Tourism Authority of Thailand is asking operators of taxi cooperatives to issue vaccination certificates to fully vaccinated drivers.

Under the plan to reopen Bangkok to inoculated foreign tourists, all 50 districts will be reopened, including Din Daeng and Huai Khwang, which still have infection clusters, as the authorities are confident existing containment measures can cope, he said.

Mr Phiphat cited Phuket, which still has about 200 new daily infections, though there are no reports of local residents spreading the virus to foreign tourists there or vice versa.

He added that four provinces -- Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi and Chon Buri -- will reopen to vaccinated foreign tourists on Oct 1 as planned.

Thira Woratanarat, an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Medicine, posted a message on Facebook on Thursday, warning against the plan to reopen Thailand.

He said the number of new cases in Thailand remained high and foreign arrivals could bring the virus with them. Even if they are fully vaccinated, they can still contract the virus during their journey, he said.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... -up-in-air

User avatar
Gaybutton
Posts: 19010
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:21 am
Location: Thailand
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 1041 times

Re: More bad news for Pattaya

Post by Gaybutton »

Firms rip reopening delay to Nov 1

Move hurts chances of Q4 rebound

by Narumon Kasemsuk

24 September, 2021

Confusion over reopening timelines has spoiled the chance for the tourism industry to rebound during the upcoming high season as inconsistent policies damage the country's credibility and international tour operators refrain from planning packages until policies are confirmed.

The reopening plan for five areas -- Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Phetchaburi -- faced another setback after the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) decided to put off the starting date from Oct 1 to Nov 1.

For Pattaya, Hua Hin and Chiang Mai, this was the third postponement from an initial reopening schedule of mid-September, all attributed to a vaccine shortage.

Tassapon Bijleveld, executive chairman of Asia Aviation, the largest shareholder of Thai AirAsia, said the move affects both the private sector and nation's tourism image because a reopening timeline of October was already set, with people and companies adjusting their plans.

"Airlines had started to invest in service maintenance and recruit staff to prepare for new flow of tourists," said Mr Tassapon. "It costs a lot for any business to restart, particularly during a liquidity crisis when every baht counts."

He said the government should have evaluated the infection curve in Thailand, assuring residents of reopening areas a sufficient vaccination rate and having a risk management plan in place before nailing down a timeline for each destination.

"If the government announced earlier the country would be ready for inbound tourists in December or even January, we would have no objection. We would have shifted our focus to the domestic market in the final quarter with full force," said Mr Tassapon. "The flip-flop worsens a situation which is already somehow at its worst, particularly regarding our financial stability."

Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, acting president of the Chon Buri Tourism Council, said companies in Pattaya have worked hard for the past 3-4 months to complete all the tasks the government asked them to prepare.

The only action companies cannot take is procure vaccines, said Mr Thanet. In the past few months, authorities could not provide a realistic vaccination plan to provide local communities proper protection.

"In addition to the vaccine shortage, some rules don't match our situation. For example, people who work here but don't have a household registration in Chon Buri as well as foreign workers cannot receive a jab here, which is impractical," he said.

The postponement mars the country's reputation as local tourism operators have already settled agreement with agents overseas that have the potential to bring in tour groups from Russia and India, said Mr Thanet.

"Nobody will listen to us again. They will wait for an official announcement, which may occur in November at the earliest, too late to capture high-season traffic as international flights often need 2-3 months notice for air traffic permission," he said.

"It also takes that long to promote those packages."

Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the decision by CCSA to reduce the quarantine period to seven days for inoculated visitors will help spur tourism demand upon reopening.

However, tourists still have to take costly RT-PCR tests during their time here as the Public Health Ministry does not want to use antigen test kits for the second and third tests.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/21 ... y-to-nov-1

User avatar
Gaybutton
Posts: 19010
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:21 am
Location: Thailand
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 1041 times

Re: More bad news for Pattaya

Post by Gaybutton »

While am in favor of erring on the side of over-caution, some of this does seem to be getting ridiculous. I certainly don't blame the businesses that were spending a lot of money, rehiring staff, and getting everything ready in anticipation of an October reopening to be highly upset over this latest move. The last thing they need is to lose substantial amounts of money yet again and the last thing employees need who had traveled from home provinces back to Pattaya on the promise of employment, finding themselves in Pattaya but still unemployed after all.

I suppose the counter argument could be that they shouldn't have started any preparations until an October reopening was made official and engraved in stone.

Either way, a lot of people are going to have to somehow suffer through at least one more month - and who knows what will happen in November? If in November Pattaya does open up, how long will it take for many of these venues to be ready to start accepting customers - if by then they still have enough money to even get ready?

I just hope November doesn't turn into another fiasco, but will any of you reading this be surprised if it does?
__________________________________________________________________

Pattaya reopening uncertainty drives frustrated tourists to other destinations

By Pattaya Mail

September 24, 2021

The constantly moving target for reopening Pattaya has frustrated foreign tourists looking elsewhere for holidays, the local head of the Thai Hotels Association said.

THA Eastern Chapter President Phisut Sae-Khu said Sept. 22 that pushing back Pattaya’s reopening to Nov. 1, the current date being bandied about, on such short notice has affected travelers’ confidence and tourists are looking to visit other destinations instead.

While nothing has been officially approved, a Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration spokesman said on Wednesday that there is agreement that any province wishing to reopen would need to vaccinate 70 percent of its adult population first.

That puts Chonburi out of the running, as the government’s failure over the summer to supply the province with enough vaccine doses has left it behind schedule. At the current rate, the 70-percent threshold won’t be crossed until the end of October.

That means that Pattaya likely will spend another “high season” without true foreign tourists. The only ones who will come after the reopening are returning Thais and foreign expats, Phisut said.

While foreign tourism likely won’t resume in October, domestic tourism will, fueled by the extension of the government’s subsidized travel campaign.

Phisut suggested that the government lift the ban on group gatherings of more than 25 people to support the meetings, conventions, incentives and exhibitions sector. Booking MICE events could lift Pattaya’s hotel occupancy to between 30 and 40 percent, he said.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... ons-373023

User avatar
Gaybutton
Posts: 19010
Joined: Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:21 am
Location: Thailand
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 1041 times

Re: More bad news for Pattaya

Post by Gaybutton »

10% of nearly 0 tourists still 0 for Pattaya

By Jetsada Homklin

November 20, 2021

While 10 percent of all foreign visiting Thailand coming to Pattaya may sound good, the country is only drawing a pittance of its former arrivals, so the city remains quiet.

Fewer than 300,000 people are expected to arrive in Thailand in the final two months of the year. Current trends say that about 30,000 of those will come to Pattaya. That will do nothing to help the city’s moribund tourism industry.

Pattaya City Councilman Thanet Supornsahatrangsi, who also heads the Chonburi Tourism Council, said 95 percent of all tourists in Pattaya this month are Thais and expats.

He, like other industry leaders, said a major reason for the city’s stagnant environment is the current ban on restaurants selling alcohol and the fact the city’s bars remain closed.

A German expat, identified only as Stephen, wants to see the alcohol ban lifted, so much so he’d even agree with a vaccine mandate that requires eateries to only admit customers with proof of full Covid-19 vaccination.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... aya-379859

Post Reply