Life after a lockdown in Pattaya
For those of us expats or even tourists who remained in Pattaya during the lockdown it was undoubtedly a strange time. Almost all of the things that we loved doing were closed or inaccessible, meaning that the city which we know was virtually unrecognizable and often resembled something of a ghost town. Thankfully, things are slowly starting to return to normal although without in the influx of overseas tourists.
It is still early days, but it does appear that the “old” Pattaya is starting to sprout green shoots of recovery. Sadly, some businesses didn’t survive, but the more robust are now starting to welcome back their customers. While social distancing is observed, and face masks, especially in some environments, may look a little strange, the customers are coming back. Many restaurants have reduced their prices with bars offering extended happy hours.
The shopping malls, a good indicator of Pattaya’s economic health, are slowly starting to fill up again. Yes, they are certainly quieter than usual, but with no tourists in town, it can hardly come as a big surprise. The roads are less congested, although this may be down to the lack of Chinese coach parties, this has meant that the air quality is noticeably better. Many of the people who fill the beaches are Thai families which give an almost a retro feel!
Small businesses, other than bars and restaurants, often those that are the last to recover, are slowly getting back on their feet. The construction workers are starting to drift back into the city, although in smaller numbers at present, which would suggest that the developers feel that normality and not a “new normal” will be returning, perhaps not quite yet, but at the start of 2021 with a little luck. Of course, this has had a knock-on effect on the overall real estate industry. Several agents still maintained some level of operations during the lockdown, and it is testimony to hard work that they have put in before and no doubt after.
The next few months will be hard for anyone working in the area, but it is just a case of getting things prepared for the future, which now doesn’t seem too far away. With quarantine regulations likely to be eased in the forthcoming weeks and tourist bubbles returning, the signs are positive. If anything, it may help people to build more solid foundations and prepare more the future in case anything like this should ever happen again. Pattaya like everywhere else it the world was underprepared but responded admirably.
The prospects for Pattaya long-term are, as always, very positive. It is a city that continually evolves and adjusts to changing circumstances, a while we have never experienced anything like this before, change is nothing new. The developers’ confidence has been retained; the businesses are opening in the city, and industry at the Eastern Seaboard is almost back to the levels which they were operating at before lockdown. Of course, the usual keyboard warriors will criticise Pattaya and say that it’s had its time, but once again, they will no doubt be proved wrong!