Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

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Re: Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

Post by Gaybutton »

Here is how the Bangkok Post views it.

My favorite line in the article says "Good planning the key". GOOD planing? In Pattaya? That would be a first . . .
__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Pattaya eyes reopening

Curbs stricter than for island spots

by Mongkol Bangprapa and Apinya Wipatayotin

5 September, 2021

The lessons learned from Phuket which has led the way in reopening to foreign visitors since July 1, followed by Samui Plus two weeks later, have encouraged Pattaya to follow in their footsteps.

Pattaya is part of the mainland, unlike Phuket and Samui which are islands and so easier to isolate. That means the "Pattaya Move On (PMO)" initiative has had to come up with stricter conditions for tourists.

While they are looking forward to welcoming international holidaymakers, challenges remain. The Bangkok Post spoke to the business community and local administration about the reopening process and the outlook for tourism's economic recovery.

Not quarantine-free travel

Rattanachai Suttidechanai, chairman of the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association, said provincial standard operating procedures (SOPs) including guidelines for inbound tourists are complete.

Unlike Phuket's SOPs in which foreign tourists are allowed to roam the island upon arrival, even though they have to stay on the island for 14 days before departing to other provinces, the SOPs for Pattaya will require visitors to spend their first three days at an alternative local quarantine (ATQ) before travelling under the "sealed route programme" for another three days.

From the seventh day, visitors can switch hotels and travel to more destinations but they must use services from tourism operators with the Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus certificate.

"Tourists will have more choices from the seventh day, but the key principle is that the staff who provide services must be fully vaccinated," he said.

Vaccinations are being sped up in districts scheduled to reopen next month to reach a target of 70% of the population, he said.

The sealed route programmes will reduce Covid-19 risks to residents and domestic travellers, he said while noting locals are considering replacing "sealed route" with other words to make visitors feel less restricted.

When asked about his hopes for the sealed route programme, Mr Rattanachai said that as long as the local economy does not remain stagnant it is good enough.

Despite the SOPs and the sealed route programme, there are concerns in the business community about Covid-19's spread linked to the PMO scheme, he admitted.

However, it is time for Pattaya, bruised by prolonged Covid-19 restrictions, to move forward and preparations are being made to respond to untoward incidents.

"That's why we came up with "Pattaya Move On." We are not waiting for the pandemic to come to an end. The private sector deserves the credit for making it happen," he said.

Mr Rattanachai said Pattaya is also pinning its hopes on foreign businessmen attending meetings related to the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme which covers Rayong, Chon Buri and Chacheongsao provinces.

Not a strong season

Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, acting president of the Chon Buri Tourism Council, said even though October marks the start of tourism season, tourist arrivals are expected to be around 20%-30% of those pre-Covid-19.

Citing tour operators, he said that only 20% of arrivals are holidaymakers while the 80% are those who have family, businesses or manufacturing investments in Thailand and seek a long-term stay.

"Pattaya is close to Bangkok and the visitors are most likely to be business operators or investors who want a long stay. If they are Covid-19 free after 14 days, they can travel anywhere," he said.

As for holidaymakers, the PMO scheme is expected to draw visitors from Russia and some European countries who want to spend their breaks in warm countries, said Mr Thanet.

However, he said that Russian tour operators see Pattaya's sealed route programme as "restricted" when compared with programmes offered by the Maldives, Egypt and Venezuela, which are Thai competitors for the Russian market. "But I think getting started is better than doing nothing," he said.

He also said that if Thailand endorses the AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in India, the South Asian country will be a potential market for the PMO scheme.

Attractive sealed routes crucial

Pattaya mayor Sontaya Kunplome said even though the PMO is a collaboration between the public and private sectors, the local administration does not decide which operators will take part in the sealed route programme and participation is on a voluntary basis.

The Pattaya City and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) support the scheme by designating tourism areas and allocating time slots to keep foreign visitors and local tourists apart.

"The sealed route programmes for foreign visitors are arranged separately and tourists from different groups will not mingle. The tour programmes are mainly natural attractions because curbs on entertainment businesses have not been eased yet," he said.

Mr Sontaya also pointed out that businessmen taking part in EEC meetings are required to travel under another set of Covid-19 restrictions, which are different from the sealed route programme being introduced for tourists.

Good planning the key

Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, chief of the Department of Health, said that unlike Phuket, Pattaya is not an island where controlling virus transmission is easier. In addition, the vaccination rate in Pattaya is still lower than Phuket which has achieved over 70% of the population.

Pattaya's vaccination rate has reached 40% and it is expected to achieve 70% in October. One challenge is how the local authority will be able to keep the situation under control and within the health system's capacity to treat patients after the reopening.

For the Phuket Sandbox, he said, the resort island has controlled disease outbreaks well. "Pattaya and Phuket are prime tourism destinations. Still, to reopen for foreign tourists, Pattaya needs more effort to make sure the city will be safe after reopening.

"The city also needs to prepare a contingency plan in case of emergency and a quick plan to control an outbreak. Semi-lockdowns could be also added if needed," he said.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/sp ... -reopening

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Re: Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

Post by Jun »

If they don't require proof of vaccination in settings where many people gather, it would make no sense to require it when just 2 people are in a room.
Also, all foreign visitors are likely to need proof of vaccination to enter Thailand, therefore reducing the need for further checks.
However, of course not all policies are logical.


When Thailand does partially open up, with all the remaining restrictions in Thailand and the other countries, I imagine the pick up in trade will be slow. Therefore if hotels were required to check for vaccination AND enforced it, I'd imagine the hotels would be running at very low occupancy levels & apartments would be doing good business. The core customer base in Pattaya would not take kindly to having restrictions imposed on their visitors.

I'm not quite sure what the vaccination rate would be amongst the Laos and Khmer lads that I often meet.

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Re: Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

Post by Gaybutton »

Jun wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 4:08 pm
it would make no sense
Therefore I think that is exactly what is going to happen.

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Re: Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

Post by Gaybutton »

And here is Barry Kenyon's take on it:
________________________________

Pattaya Move On Sandbox decides to bite the bullet

By Barry Kenyon

September 5, 2021

Apart from some crabapple expats, everyone wishes success to the proposed Pattaya Sandbox reopening on October 1. Under the plan, fully-vaccinated international tourists will need to spend the first 14 days under the eagle eye of the Safety and Health Administration (SFA), sleeping and eating only in approved facilities. After the first fortnight they are free to do their own thing anywhere in Thailand.

The plus side from the Phuket Sandbox experience is that only 0.3 percent of the 25,000 visitors so far have tested positive for the virus. The minus is that 100,000 customers was the target for the period July 1 to August 31. From September 8, domestic tourists as well as international will be allowed into the Phuket Sandbox program provided they are fully vaccinated, test negative and have pre-paid accommodation in approved hotels. That’ll boost the numbers.

Pattaya, of course, is not an island like Phuket. The Pattaya Business and Tourism Association says that visitors will need to use “sealed routes” to deter naughty absconders. That term has not been defined, but suggests that Sandboxers will need to be herded onto special buses and checked at night to be sure they are sleeping in their pre-booked accommodation. Doubtless, they will be told to activate their tracking app, though what happens if they switch off is a conundrum.

As with Phuket, all Pattaya Sandboxers will need to obtain the certificate of entry from the local Thai embassy which requires weighty documentation including anti-covid health insurance worth at least US$100,000. There will also be a regimen of health checks once the recruits have arrived. Returning Pattaya residents or their guests won’t be able to sleep in their own homes for the first fortnight. The Sandbox idea is to make money from sun-seeking beach tourists.

The most likely markets for the Pattaya Sandbox will be from Asia, although excluding China which is unlikely to allow its citizenry to vacation abroad until 2022. India is a likely source, though this depends on the Thai authorities recognizing the Astra Zeneca vaccine produced in the sub-continent. The Middle East looks promising, if only because of the number of affluent residents based there, whilst South Korea and Japan have already shown interest as a precursor to possible air corridors.

However, the Move On Pattaya initiative is problematical for traditional markets such as the UK, the US and the EU. Britain has now graded Thailand a dangerous red zone for Covid and requires its returning residents compulsorily to quarantine at a cost of over 2,000 pounds for the individual rate. The US State Department has also virtually banned Americans from travelling to Thailand, whilst several Euro countries have been discouraging on their websites.

In other words, the Pattaya Sandbox success depends on the virus. If Thailand can reduce the number of infections day in and day out, international reaction will change. But there is also a mammoth vaccination program still in its infancy in Pattaya. Moreover, many Thais living in Pattaya are registered in their home province and don’t count in the Pattaya statistics even though they are mostly unvaccinated. Many Thais and foreigners who have received their first jab, won’t have had the second by the opening date.

Most crucially is what to do at night. With bars and clubs closed for the duration, restaurants are currently not officially allowed to serve alcohol with meals. Not to mention the need to be back in your room before the curfew commences at 9 pm sharp. As the German Travel Agency puts it, “The Pattaya Sandbox outcome depends on visitors having some fun as well as putting money into the pockets of the Thai organizers. September needs to be awash with good news coming from Pattaya every single day.” Amen to that Mein Herr.

https://www.pattayamail.com/latestnews/ ... let-370611

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Re: Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

Post by gerefan »

Barry Kenyon wrote:
Sun Sep 05, 2021 8:46 pm
However, the Move On Pattaya initiative is problematical for traditional markets such as the UK, the US and the EU. Britain has now graded Thailand a dangerous red zone for Covid and requires its returning residents compulsorily to quarantine at a cost of over 2,000 pounds for the individual rate.
Newspaper babble. These UK rules are no deterrent.

Anyone wanting to visit Thailand, and who are prepared to undergo the Move on Pattaya restrictions, are visiting for the long term. Several months at least. No one is going to suffer it just for a few weeks.

Secondly, most will want to travel to escape the European winter and so will probably arrive in Thailand November/ December and stay until March or April before returning home.

Their return journeys are at least SIX months from now...the current rules are therefore completely irrelevant.

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Re: Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

Post by Jun »

The current stupid UK red zone rule has no impact at all on my winter holiday planning.
I also assume that with the very rapid current rate of vaccination, Thailand would no longer be on the red list when I want to come back home. If it is, I would either extend the stay in Thailand, or spend 10 days in a third country on the way back home.

I think the only type of people who would be discouraged are those who want to do a short duration trip in one country, but as Gerefan says, the Thai rules already discourage those.

Also, if the Pattaya sandbox people want to interfere to the extent where they tell me which places I have to eat at, that's yet another very good reason to try a different sandbox.

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Re: Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

Post by Gaybutton »

Jun wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 4:00 am
I would either extend the stay in Thailand, or spend 10 days in a third country on the way back home.
Obviously very few people can do that. Your holiday is months at a time. Most want a 1 or 2 week holiday. But even if you do manage to make it to Thailand without any problems, I can't help but wonder what you're planning to do when you get here, especially if everything still has to close by 8:00pm if the curfew is still in effect.

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Re: Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

Post by Gaybutton »

The Phuket sandbox scheme seems to be failing, which comes as no surprise to me. How does that bode for Pattaya reopening?
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Phuket sours on Sandbox

Firms pitch full reopening by Dec 1

by Achadthaya Chuenniran

6 September, 2021

The private sector in Phuket is urging the government to fully reopen the resort island by Dec 1, saying the move can bring in more than 210 billion baht in tourism-related revenue in just three months.

The call came as businesses in Phuket realised that they won't be able to survive with the island only partially reopened under the Phuket Sandbox scheme.

"Only over 20,000 tourists have come over the past two months since the Phuket Sandbox was launched," said the vice-president of Phuket Tourism Association, Nanthida Atiset.

"We can't continue this way. Hotels are suffering losses.

"What we need is 'freedom day' on Dec 1."

Along with the president of Phuket Tourism Council Thanet Tantipiriyakit, Ms Nanthida led local business associations to submit their proposal for the island's reopening, under a new campaign called "Phuket Freedom Day".

Under the proposal, all businesses on the island will fully resume, with all residents of the island returning to their usual way of life while remaining safe from Covid-19 by observing public health guidelines.

With domestic travel adapted to a "new normal", the province will be able to attract some 3.5 million tourists who will come between December and March next year -- about half the number of tourists in the same period before the pandemic -- bringing in some 210 billion baht in tourism-related income.

All target groups on the island should receive a third booster jab for the reopening to succeed. Meanwhile, tourists would be required to show proof of vaccination and/or undergo a rapid Covid-19 antigen test prior to entering, the groups said in their proposal.

The proposal was designed to follow the United Kingdom's model for reopening, which required 90% of target groups within the population to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, Ms Nanthida said.

To achieve the goal, she said, Phuket will need to roll out more jabs. About 400,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine will have to be procured, along with 70,000 of the Pfizer vaccine for interdermal injections -- which require 20% of the usual dose required for a booster shot, but confers equal immunity against the virus.

She cited the result of a study in the Netherlands which showed the technique was as effective as the intramuscular injection method, in which a full dose was administered.

Vachira Phuket Hospital is conducting a trial on intradermal injections, using 20% of the usual amount of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on those who have already received two shots of the Sinovac vaccine, according to the groups.

So far, 76.5% of Phuket's population have been vaccinated against Covid-19, while up to 87.1% of the elderly population and 70% of those with underlying medical conditions have been inoculated.

According to the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, from July 1 until Aug 31, 26,400 foreign tourists visited Phuket under the Phuket Sandbox programme, which has generated 1.6 billion baht in tourism related income.

Among these tourists were 3,647 Americans, 3,437 Britons, 3,141 Israelis, 2,174 French and 2,159 Germans, according to the Immigration Bureau.

As for those tourists who want to return to their home countries at the end of their visits but couldn't leave Thailand due to new Covid-19 protocols imposed by airlines, Phuket governor Narong Woonciew said the province is trying its best to help.

In some cases, tourists weren't aware that their airlines require a proof of a negative Covid-19 test, which usually takes at least 48 hours to issue, leaving them stranded at the airport, he said.

"We are compiling updates to help tourists," he said.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/21 ... on-sandbox

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Re: Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

Post by Jun »

Gaybutton wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 9:34 am
Obviously very few people can do that. Your holiday is months at a time. Most want a 1 or 2 week holiday. But even if you do manage to make it to Thailand without any problems, I can't help but wonder what you're planning to do when you get here, especially if everything still has to close by 8:00pm if the curfew is still in effect.
I'm guessing the curfew will be gone by December. However, since that could be incorrect, I'm keeping options open by not booking anything until nearer the time. I hope countries like Cambodia will get their act together and provide some choices.

The point that Gerefan & I are making is that Thai restrictions will already discourage most of those wanting a 1~2 week holiday, so the UK Red list restrictions don't make much difference for those people anyway.
Thailand should fix what Thailand controls. For example, once vaccination reaches 70%, remove all restrictions, except perhaps a PCR test before traveling.

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Re: Pattaya Reopening? Here is Adam Judd's fact check

Post by Gaybutton »

gerefan wrote:
Mon Sep 06, 2021 2:48 am
Secondly, most will want to travel to escape the European winter and so will probably arrive in Thailand November/ December and stay until March or April before returning home.
That might be what most will want to do, but do you really think most will do that, even if they could? I'm expecting most planning a holiday in Thailand are planning to be there 1 or 2 weeks, 3 at the most.

I could agree with you if you change "most" to "some".

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