Pattaya business operators are suggesting another plan called ‘Sealed Routes’ as a proposed overall scheme to bring back vaccinated foreign tourists called ‘Pattaya Move On’ in August as they are concerned the proposed ‘Sand Box’ plan currently scheduled to launch in October could fail and is waiting too long to recover the economy locally.
A “Sandbox” plan essentially allows a vaccinated foreign tourist freedom of movement, with some restrictions, and is set to be trialed in Phuket next month. Notably, however, Phuket has chosen to keep its bars, clubs, and entertainment venues closed for the test.
A consultant from the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association Mr. Tanet Supohnsahatrangsri told The Pattaya News this morning, June 11th, “Vaccine distribution is not on schedule for the ‘Sand Box’ as currently proposed in the ‘Pattaya Move on’ plan. This could change in the future, but currently, Chonburi and Pattaya do not have the number of vaccines they wanted due to the majority of the vaccine supply being allocated to Bangkok due to the current outbreak there.”
“Pattaya and Chonburi are not the same as Phuket by geography and it is much easier to be able to properly track and trace tourists on an island than on the mainland,” Tanet said.
“The Chonburi Public Health Office is also worried if we do the ‘Sand Box’ for Pattaya and Sattahip, it will be difficult to use the current Covid-19 measurements to prevent the spread of the virus.” Mr. Tanet Supohnsahatrangsri added.
“Business owners in Pattaya are worried if the plan to open the city for international tourism in October does not happen, we will have to wait again until next year. Pattaya simply cannot afford to go another high season without tourists, and has already been devastated economically and in terms of tourist infrastructure.” Mr. Tanet Supohnsahatrangsri said.
Pattaya city officials are currently leaning towards a ‘Sealed Approach’ which will include ‘Sealed Routes’ and ‘Sealed Areas’ while tourists are in their initial seven days. This is different than a “Sandbox” and you can read more about this below. Koh Larn may be proposed as a sandbox individually, but that is a different plan.
“We are suggesting to the central Thai government to consider a soft opening for Pattaya in August and September. This will utilize ‘Sealed Routes’ to see if there are any problems before we open more fully in October, possibly with a full sandbox plan for Pattaya allowing more freedom of movement for foreign tourists.” Mr. Tanet Supohnsahatrangsri continued.
“Under the sealed routes plan, foreign tourists who have completely taken two doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccine will be allowed to check into SHA+ approved hotels (Basically a hotel with 70% of their staff vaccinated and having passed safety standards) and do activities inside the hotel or resort for the first three to five days. This could include hotel restaurants, pools, private hotel beaches, gyms, and other attractions at participating hotels if they have the proper Covid-19 protective measures in place.” Tanet added.
“After three to five days and a negative Covid-19 test tourists can go out to travel via SHA approved private transportation at specific places that have a SHA+ (Amazing Thailand Safety Health Administration Plus) certificate or places with HA (Hospital Accreditation) as part of the sealed route. These could be popular tourist attractions like Koh Larn, Big Buddha, Wat Yansangwararam, Khao Khiao Open Zoo, Koh Si Chang, Jomtien Beach, Buddha Mountain, Nong Nooch Gardens, and other similar locations that are popular but also easy to social distance and utilize Covid-19 safety measures.” Tanet said.
Under the safe and sealed plan, after seven days and tourists pass a final Covid-19 test, they would then be allowed to travel where they wished.
The proposal is expected to be given to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, by Pattaya officials and business owners in the near future.
TPN media notes with our usual disclaimer that this is a proposal, and is not set in stone or guaranteed to happen.