Returning tourists ‘a sign of recovery’ in Pattaya

Glimpse of normalcy: Beaches and piers in Pattaya are open after Covid clamps are lifted.

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

Chonburi Tourism Council chairman Thanet Supornsahasrangsi said Pattaya has seen a room occupancy rate of 60-70% for New Year’s Eve, up from the 30-40% the city saw during the height of the pandemic.

He said since the curbs were lifted, more airlines have launched new routes to Rayong’s U-tapao airport, including Bangkok Airways, Thai Vietjet, Thai AirAsia and Thai Lion Air, drawing more visitors to Pattaya.

He said Russian tourists, who made up more than 70% of Pattaya’s visitors before the pandemic, will return to the city via charter flights from Friday.

More 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 the tourism situation in Pattaya to gradually improve,” he said.

In other news, the National Audiovisual Commission of the Department of Cultural Promotion has approved a draft advertising 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 award prizes to Thai artists, athletes and entertainers who promote local culture on the international stage.

He said the National Audio-Visual Committee will submit 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 resolution to attract investors and create employment opportunities for the local population.

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

The committee also approved measures to promote the production of digital content in Thailand through foreign filmmakers, such as a 20% cash rebate for production shooting in the country, he said.

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

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

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