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Pattaya firms unsure beach opening is enough

A tourist relaxes on a beach in Pattaya after the resort city reopens all beaches for visitors on Monday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

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Pattaya beaches are now open to tourists, but the business community is not sure that it will revive the tourism industry when other related businesses remain closed.

Ekkasit Ngamphichet, president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, said entertainment venues, activities and nightlife are part of the tourism sector in Pattaya and he is unsure if visitors will be lured back when Pattaya is not "fully" open.

He said 45% of visitors to the resort town are Thais who usually spend a night or two at the weekend, adding hoteliers are in for hard times if they fail to attract Thai tourists, as it will be months before foreigners return.

Mr Ekkasit said a big push from the government is needed to boost the local tourism market, which is valued at 100 billion baht per year.

He said the 8 billion baht pledged by the Tourism Authority of Thailand is not enough.

"Foreign tourists aren't returning and the worst-case scenario is that they might not come back until next year.

"As for Thai tourists, a few enjoy the sun and sand, but most prefer other entertainment activities," he said.

A survey by the Bangkok Post of beaches in Pattaya found scant activity. Jet skis and banana boats had disappeared. With tourists mostly gone, the only visitors are Thais and long-stay foreigners or those who did not leave before the lockdown.

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