The longer this pandemic grips Thailand the more concerned I get for a speedy recovery in the tourist centric areas, like Pattaya.
I guess my main concern for the region of Pattaya is for businesses that has now closed. It is not now a question of when will they reopen, as I think that horse has bolted, but what will reopen in its place?
If you were only a small business operator and was forced to closed – where are you going to find the cash reserves to reopen again? Chances are, for many, they are waiting to relocate back to their domestic countries. The Pattaya market was changing before this pandemic and many businesses were already feeling the pinch. To compound this, with such uncertainty going forward in this world, who is willing to take the chance on reopening again? Even when the vaccines have been rolled out across Thailand there will still be many unanswered questions.
The big question now, for me at least, is how will Pattaya raise up from the ashes caused by Covid?
Having been away from Pattaya for the last 3-months, taking a look around central Pattaya was shocking. Just about every business is now closed along Second road and Beach road and the notable change is not only are the shutters pulled down, but the fascias are now also removed. Whatever that business was before, will not be the business that re-emerges.
This town was built on mass International tourism, it relied on lots of foreign visitors, and it has now been starved of this for 15-16 months. You cut off the oxygen for too long and things cannot be repaired to how they once were.
Much has now happened during this pandemic and new consumer behaviours have been formed not only locally but Internationally. We also need to factor how lifestyles and attitudes have shifted, how will this influence the new Pattaya on the horizon?
For me, a seasoned working expat living in Pattaya for well over a decade, I had liked the direction Pattaya had been heading. The only clash being coping with the bus loads of Chinese against the more affluent proposition starting to emerge. If these two groups can be kept apart then Pattaya can become somewhat of a powerhouse in the tourist industry.
Bangkok Thais have been warming to Pattaya for many years now and with closer links than competing regions, like Hua Hin, and the development of the Bangsaray corridor I see this as a growth sector for the region.
Let’s not also forget it wasn’t long ago that Pattaya was named the number 1 region in Australasia by leading global golfing association IAGTO. There are well over 20 golf courses within a 50km radius of the city.
We should by and large applaud the nightlife scene. I have never experienced a place in the world with so much energy and excitement. Pattaya is not only a town to be enjoyed by single men, and that hasn’t been the case for many years. It has something for everyone and you will never get bored of going out for an evening in Pattaya!
I think the future of Pattaya will work out well in the end – but could very well be built on a somewhat different proposition and set of values. When people say Covid will cause a reset of how things once were, it could very well be the case and there is some evidence to support this already (e.g business closures).
That said, we are living in extraordinary times and nothing can be assumed. We will just have to wait and see.
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