TOURISM business in Pattaya is expected to decline this year, with the number of visitors likely to fall by 300,000 to 8.8 million and income predicted to come in at Bt90 billion, down 10 per cent.
Sinchai Wattanasatsaton, president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association, said yesterday that tourism business in the resort city had dropped by 20-25 per cent during the current quarter compared with same period last year.
The market in China has showed the biggest year-on-year fall, at 70 per cent, during recent months, while other key markets such as Russia, South Korea and Hong Kong have also declined significantly, he said.
“While Chinese tourists are returning to Pattaya after the government waived their visa fees, the numbers are still lower than last year,” Sinchai said.
“Thai tourism has been hit since the junta issued martial law, which still hurts the travel environment as tourists are not confident enough to travel to Thailand,” he added.
Last year, Pattaya welcomed 9.1 million visitors and generated Bt100 billion in tourism revenue. Some 2.1 million of the visitors were local tourists (excluding one-day trippers).
The top tour markets were Russia (2.3 million visitors), China (389,000), South Korea and India (300,000 each).
Tourism business in Pattaya is expected to drop by 5 per cent this year, Sinchai said, adding that visitor numbers are likely to fall to 8.8 million and income will drop to Bt90 billion.
According to the Thai Hotels Association (THA) Eastern Chapter, hotels in Pattaya are running at an average occupancy rate of 45-50 per cent this month, some 25 per cent down on the same period last year.
Besides individual traveller numbers being down, the number of local group meetings and seminars has also fallen due to political uncertainty, said the THA. However, there are also many visitors that travel to Pattaya and stay at non-THA member properties.
To boost tourism, the THA and travel associations in Pattaya are set to run more events and activities.
One such event is the “Amazing Pattaya Festival” during August 29-31, while operators will also promote recently opened attractions such as Cartoon Network Water Park and Pipo Pony Club.
The resort-city also plans to build a new tourism magnet called Ocean Art, which will feature a giant floating whale and underwater artworks depicting marine animals.