Thailand’s Sin City red light district eerily quiet as Covid-19 strangles tourism industry


Thailand’s once busy Walking Street red light district in Pattaya was deserted last night (Feb 9) after Covid-19 decimated tourism.

Footage shows the once-popular street eerily quiet with just a handful of pubs and gogo bars open for expats.

Thailand has been relatively unscathed by the coronavirus with lower numbers of cases than neighbouring countries.

However, border closures enforce last March and strict rules on paperwork and mandatory state quarantine for anyone entering the country have seen tourism plunge.

Officials recorded fewer tourists in the previous six months than there were in a single day in 2019.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Deputy Permanent Secretary Chutintorn Sam Gongsakdi said just 78,328 non-Thai nations arrived between July 9 2020 and February 6 2021.

In contrast, around 110,000 arrived each day in 2019 before the Covid-19 struck. There were 40 million in the whole year.

Thailand’s Krungsri Bank forecasts that it will be up to three years before tourism returns to its pre-pandemic levels. The country has recorded 23,746 Covid-19 infections and 79 deaths as of February 10 but the impact on the tourism-dependent economy has been devastating.