Beach resort banking on Neo Pattaya

Beach resort banking on Neo Pattaya

Pattaya city wants to transform itself from a beach destination a new international business centre. (Bangkok Post photo)
Pattaya city wants to transform itself from a beach destination a new international business centre. (Bangkok Post photo)

Pattaya city wants to transform itself from a beach destination to Neo Pattaya, a new international business centre, in preparation for the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) scheme, in an attempt to diversify its economy away from tourism.

Tourism revenue dominates income for the city, which welcomed 14 million visitors last year, contributing 239 billion baht, or over 70% of total income for Pattaya.

“We plan to reduce our income from tourism to 60% of the total in five years, gaining revenue from other sectors benefiting from the EEC,” said Pattaya mayor Sonthaya Khunpluem.

Pattaya is in many regards quite similar to Miami in the United States, such as size and number of tourist arrivals, he said.

However, Pattaya is far from Miami as an economic and financial hub, Mr Sonthaya said at a seminar in the beachside destination.

To upgrade Pattaya as an economic hub, he said the city must exploit opportunities from developing various industries in the EEC.

From January 2018 to June 2019, the Board of Investment granted investment privileges for projects in the three EEC provinces — Chachoengsao, Rayong and Chon Buri — worth 800 billion baht, of which 645 billion stem from investments in Chon Buri.

To prepare Pattaya to capitalise on the greater opportunity, the city has been working with the Public Works and Town and Country Planning Department to improve water management, which is among the most urgent tasks.

The first phase of a flood management project is underway, with a budget of 9.5 billion baht.

The wastewater treatment system needs an upgrade to handle 130,000 cubic metres per day, up from the current 67,000 cu m.

Mr Sonthaya said the city is holding discussions with relevant agencies to enable any EEC-related infrastructure in Pattaya to benefit both the economic and tourism sectors in the city as well as Chon Buri province.

Pattaya is one of the five Mice (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) cities promoted by the agency alongside Chiang Mai, Phuket, Khon Kaen and Bangkok due to its potential as an economic hub with its strategic location for Mice business. 

Chiruit Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya, president of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, said the EEC should bring more Mice travellers to Pattaya, especially for meetings and exhibitions.

Next year, the agency plans to bid for more music and cultural events to organise in the area.


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