Returning tourists in Pattaya ‘a sign of recovery’

Look at normality: Pattaya beaches and piers open after Covid clamps lifted

CHON BURI: Pattaya’s tourism industry is showing signs of recovery as more tourists are expected to return following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.

Chonburi Tourism Council President Thanet Supornsahasrangsi said Pattaya had seen a 60-70% room occupancy rate on New Year’s Eve, an increase compared to 30-40% the city saw during the peak of the pandemic.

He said that since curbs were lifted, more airlines have launched new routes to U-Tapao Airport in Rayong, including Bangkok Airways, Thai Vietjet, Thai AirAsia and Thai Lion Air, attracting more visitors to Pattaya.

He said Russian tourists, who accounted for more than 70% of Pattaya’s visitors before the pandemic, will return to the city on charter flights starting Friday.

Other Russian tour operators such as Pegas Touristik, ANEX Tour and ODEON Tours are also planning holiday programs in Thailand, he added.

However, he said it is unclear when Chinese tourists will be able to travel internationally again.

“We expect Pattaya’s tourism situation will gradually improve,” he said.

In other news, the Department of Cultural Promotion’s National Audio-Visual Committee has approved a draft advertising campaign to promote Thailand’s soft power and give benefits to foreign film crews working in the country.

Culture Minister Itthiphol Khunpluem said the committee agreed to support awarding awards to Thai artists, athletes and entertainers who promote local culture internationally.

He said the National Audio-Visual Committee will propose the draft to a Soft Power Policy Committee.

In addition, the panel also agreed to designate Pattaya as the center of Thailand’s film industry, in line with a cabinet decision to attract investors and create employment opportunities for locals.

The culture ministry has signed a memorandum of understanding with 13 organizations in favor of Pattaya, Mr Itthiphol said.

The committee has also approved measures to encourage foreign filmmakers to produce digital content in Thailand, such as: For example, a 20 percent cash rebate for in-country production launches, he said.

However, foreign filmmakers must employ a local company registered with the Thailand Film Office under the Office of Tourism Development, he said.

The policy will give foreign filmmakers financial incentives to produce films in Thailand and collaborate with local artists, Mr Itthiphol said.

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