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Retired expats keep Thai beach resort ticking over

Resident seniors help to sustain local economy amid worsening pandemic

Robin Ingle, the Welsh proprietor of Hungry Hippo, is surviving off Pattaya's "old boys" in the time of COVID-19. (Photo by Peter Janssen)

PATTAYA, Thailand -- Hungry Hippo is one of the few food and beverage outlets that remain busy in Pattaya, Thailand's oldest beach resort, which has seen its once-vibrant tourism-driven economy devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 70% of Pattaya's bars and restaurants have closed since the first wave of infections hit Thailand in March 2020, forcing the country into lockdowns in April and May. More are likely to follow suit in the second wave, which started in December and has forced containment restrictions in 61 of Thailand's 77 provinces, including Chonburi, which includes Pattaya, 100 km southeast of Bangkok.  

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