PATTAYA : Four projects in the tourism sector worth 2.23 billion baht that received Board of Investment (BoI) privileges are poised to open this year and next.
The first is a Hong Kong investment of 550 million baht by the Kidzania Group, the world's fastest-growing edutainment brand, to set up Kidzania this December at Siam Paragon.
Kidzania is a role-playing activity where children aged 4-12 can try out different adult occupations.
The second project is a 900-million-baht Thai-Russian joint venture to set up Ramayana water park in Chon Buri's Sattahip district slated for next year.
The third is a 620-million-baht project by Pacific Shore Development to set up Amazon Falls Water Park. This joint venture between Hong Kong and Malaysia will be in Pattaya and is slated to open next year.
The last is a 162-million-baht project by Siam World Art Co to set up a cultural centre with investment from South Korea. The centre will be located in Pattaya exhibiting sculpture, paintings and Thai-Korean culture.
BoI secretary-general Atchaka Sibunruang said the board expects higher investment in the tourism sector, especially theme parks that will enable Thailand to compete with Hong Kong's Disneyland, Singapore's water park and Malaysia's theme parks. Amazon Falls will be the first water park in the world to use cartoon presenters.
The Ramayana is billed as the largest water park in Asia Pacific. Once these two open, they should attract investment in other areas, she added.
From 2007-12, a total of 23 projects applied for investment promotion in the tourism sector, totalling 3.48 billion baht.
Three projects totalling 1.47 billion baht were theme parks, four projects totalling 707 million baht were cultural centres, 12 projects worth 417 million baht were hiring boats for tourism, and three projects totalling 215 baht were tourist boat parking areas.
Dr Atchaka said the BoI is revising its promotion policies. The tourism sector will still be given a prominent place, but some adjustments might be made in terms of providing incentives for projects the government prioritises, such as theme parks and water parks.
To this point no global-scale theme park producers such as Disney or Universal have shown interest in investing in Thailand, said Dr Atchaka. Malaysia and Singapore provide many incentives to attract tourism projects, such as racing arenas, she said.
In the past the BoI provided incentives for a variety of tourism businesses, such as racing arenas, open zoos and electric hoists, but have not received any interest from business operators, said Dr Atchaka.
About the author
- Writer: Nanchanok Wongsamuth
Position: News Reporter