Refusing to submit to omicron panic, the Pattaya-area chief of the Thai Hotels Association said Thailand should stick to an earlier plan to ease testing and quarantine for arriving international tourists.
Phisut Sae-khu, president of the THA’s eastern chapter, said Dec. 10 that the government needs to look at its other countries competing for the same tourists as Thailand and make the country as easy and inexpensive as possible to visit.
That means proceeding with the earlier-approved plan to replace on-arrival RT-PCR coronavirus testing and one-night quarantine with a quick antigen test and eliminate the one-night stay in a government-certified hotel.
The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration approved the plan to take effect Dec. 15, but the Cabinet overrode the CCSA in a kneejerk reaction to the emergence of the omicron variant overseas.
In the nearly month since, Thailand has found only three omicron cases – all in quarantine – and initial indications from real-world cases overseas are that the variant causes only mild illness, although more testing is needed.
Phisut said Pattaya is attracting only a few hundred tourists a day, but that long weekends have been a boost. The Pattaya Music Festival, however, has failed to draw as many people as the recent fireworks festival. Hopefully, he said, the New Year’s countdown event will be better.
This story appeared in the Pattaya Mail, a Bangkok Herald partner.