PATTAYA: Cabaret shows have come back to life in this beach town, with all seats at the famed Alcazar theatre fully booked on the night it reopened for the first time in more than two years.
Thais and foreign tourists, particularly Indian nationals, have thronged Pattaya this weekend following the lifting of restrictions on entertainment venues, pubs and bars on June 1 after a lengthy shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Alcazar Cabaret Show theatre, famed worldwide for its lavish shows with colourfully costumed performers and high-tech lighting, was overwhelmed with customers on Friday night.
Alcazar executive Pawin Phettrakul said on Saturday that the theatre had resumed operating under Safety and Health Administration (SHA) measures after having been closed for more than two years.
He said it was beyond his expectations that the theatre would be packed with customers with all seats booked on the first night. Most of the customers were Indian, Vietnamese and South Korean nationals. There were also Thai visitors, he added.
Customers take photos with dancers at the Alcazar Cabaret Show theatre in Pattaya on Friday night. (Photo: Chaiyot Pupattanapong)
Mr Pawin said he was not hopeful that everything would be better than in pre-pandemic times, but what he wants most is more tourist arrivals in Pattaya a greater variety of venues to draw them besides the beach and natural attractions.
Now, he said, tourists were complaining that there were only a small number of places to visit in the city. Many shops were closed during the Covid outbreak and some might never reopen. If more entertainment venues reopened like before, many tourists would return to Pattaya, he added.
For now, Alcazar Cabaret Show theatre will be open only four days a week — Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday — with one show daily at 7pm, he said. If the theatre is warmly received by customers, more shows would be added.
The cabaret’s famously good-looking performers were overjoyed to be back on stage. They said they were very happy to perform again after the pandemic upended their lives and livelihoods for more than two years. Some dancers had to find other jobs to earn a living, such as working as restaurant employees or being self-employed in order to survive.
June 1 also marked the lifting of most restrictions on arrivals from abroad, including quarantine for non-vaccinated visitors, and the streamlining of the Thailand Pass registration system. Tourism was already making a steady recovery but the latest changes are expected to create more momentum.