CHON BURI: The tourism industry in Pattaya is showing signs of recovery as more tourists are slated to return following the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
Thanet Supornsahasrangsi, president of the Tourism Council of Chonburi, said that Pattaya has seen a 60–70% room occupancy rate for New Year's Eve, an increase compared to the rate of 30-40% the city saw during the height 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 used to make up more than 70% of visitors to Pattaya before the pandemic, will return to the city via charter flights starting from Friday.
More Russian tour operators such as Pegas Touristik, ANEX Tour and ODEON Tours are also planning holiday programmes in Thailand, he added.
However, he said it is unclear when Chinese tourists would be able to travel internationally again.
"We expect the tourism situation in Pattaya will get better gradually," he said.
In other news, the National Audio-Visual Committee of the Department of Cultural Promotion has approved a draft advertisement campaign to promote Thailand's soft power and grant benefits to foreign film crews working in the country.
Culture Minister Itthiphol Khunpluem said the committee has agreed to endorse the granting of prizes to Thai artists, athletes and entertainers who promote local culture on the international stage.
He said the National Audio-Visual Committee will propose the draft to a soft power policy committee.
In addition, the panel has also agreed to designate Pattaya as the centre of Thailand's film industry, in line with a cabinet resolution to attract investors and generate job opportunities for locals.
The Ministry of Culture has signed a memorandum of understanding with 13 organisations for Pattaya's benefit, Mr Itthiphol said.
The committee has also approved measures to promote digital content production in Thailand via foreign filmmakers, such as a 20% cash rebate for production shoots in the country, he said.
However, foreign filmmakers are required to employ a local company that is 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.