Hopes for a tourism recovery in Rayong province have been crushed by fears of a resurgent coronavirus, with 90% of hotel bookings and all reservations for Koh Samet canceled this week.
Anuchida Chinsiraprapha, president of Rayong Chamber of Commerce, today blamed slow action by health officials to publicize information about a visiting Egyptian air crew allowed to travel freely instead of quarantining – one later turned out to have COVID-19 – for nearly all stays and conferences being wiped out due to the resulting anxiety.
As for Koh Samet, a popular Bangkok getaway that just reopened July 1, all bookings have evaporated, according to Srinthip Thapmongkolsup, head of island tourism.
Anuchida said local business had just begun to see the light again. Local hotels had bounced back to 60% of normal after all were forced closed for three months due to the pandemic.
About 1.6 million people visited Koh Samet alone last year, which is located in a national park just off the coast of Rayong in the gulf.
After health officials disclosed more details about the Egyptian’s whereabouts yesterday, the chamber president said Rayong is back to rebuilding trust in the province again. Hotels have attempted to negotiate with customers calling to cancel in a bid to stem further losses.
On Monday, COVID spokesman Taweesilp Wisanuyothin announced that 31 Egyptian air force officers had spent Friday shopping in the community while visiting on official business. They stayed at the D Varee Diva Rayong Hotel and departed Saturday, one day before test results found one of them had contracted the virus.
This article, Canceled: COVID anxiety devastates Rayong’s tourism revival, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!