Thailand has been elated to finally welcome tourists - mostly - but now, in the wake of the pandemic, a new threat to tourism has emerged. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said it expects a normally profitable third quarter to be marred by flooding in 21 provinces in Thailand. The flooding is expected to particularly affect corporate travel.
Mayor Poramet Ngampichet estimates that around 80,000 tourists will travel to Ko Lan Island off the coast of Pattaya in eastern Chonburi province during the King's four-day birthday weekend from July 28 to 31.
Poramet said Pattaya has been receiving more than 10,000 tourists a day lately, mostly from Thailand, Vietnam and India. During the extended vacation, Poramet expects 20,000 tourists a day to wade through Bali Hai Pier in Bang Lamung and take the 30-minute ferry to Koh Lan, also known as Coral Island. Where exactly he took the predicted figures, the mayor did not say.
Tourists can park their cars at the pier for free during the long weekend, the mayor said. Although it may be difficult for tourists to find a place to park if Poramet's forecasts come true. The multi-purpose area at Bali Hai Pier will be converted into a car park with a maximum capacity of 200 cars.
Yesterday the mayor visited Ko Lan to see if the island is ready to accept such an exodus of tourists. The mayor was impressed with the island's preparations and confirmed that the city of Pattaya is ready to ensure the safety of tourists this weekend.
He may be referring to the willingness of the Pattaya Police to stop "armed, drunk and violent foreign tourists" with metal poles, as shown on Jomtien Beach in this hilarious video.
Who knows, perhaps Poramet's prophecy could come true, given that Pattaya is the eighth most popular tourist destination in the world to visit this summer, according to Agoda's latest booking data assessment. Bangkok took first place, while Asian cities took all 15 spots on the list.