Tourists Returning To Thailand Are Greeted With Closed Bars And Deserted Streets

Tourists Returning to Thailand Find Closed Bars, Empty Streets

The lack of enterprises in which foreign tourists come to the nation to do business may jeopardize the government’s efforts to revive tourism.

The Patpong district of central Bangkok is relatively calm most nights. The area was formerly known as one of the world’s most infamous red-light districts, luring international travelers to its many pubs, nightclubs, and massage parlors until the epidemic struck. Because the tourist sector has been ravaged by two years of Covid-19, the majority of the establishments on the street have shut their doors and posted “Closed” signs in their windows. The sellers have disappeared from the night market in the region, which was for decades the location to purchase Red Bull T-shirts, Thai boxing leggings, and phony Rolex watches.

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Thailand is attempting to reclaim them. Before the epidemic, tourism contributed to one-fifth of the country’s gross domestic product, with around 40 million international visitors producing more than $60 billion in revenue in 2019. Beginning in early February, the administration of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha started permitting tourists who had been vaccinated to enter the country without being subjected to quarantine.

Like many other nations now treating Covid as an endemic disease, Thailand is keen to get its tourist sector up and to run. Many small businesses that played essential roles in Thailand’s tourist economy were forced to shut during the lockdowns and have not reopened as a result.

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Visitors anticipating lively restaurants, bars, and marketplaces may be in for a rude awakening. Furthermore, major, higher-end enterprises are giving heavy discounts and special packages to grab the few travelers who are still going, displacing the smaller operators who have managed to survive.

Moreover, according to Bill Heinecke, chairman of Bangkok-based Minor International Pcl, one of Southeast Asia’s most renowned hospitality, restaurant, and lifestyle companies, Thailand’s strict travel regulations, which include requirements to take multiple Covid tests and provide proof of medical insurance with at least $50,000 coverage, will limit the types of people who come to the country. As Heinecke points out,

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“When you fly in general, first and business classes are completely crowded, whereas economy is completely vacant.” Thus, “the kind of passengers who are now being seen is higher-end travelers who prefer to remain longer because of all the red tape that they have to go through,” says the author.


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