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24 Mar 2006

Tourism

Pattaya Tourism 2006: Baht60 Billion in Circulation

The up-trend in popularity of tourism spots along the Gulf of Thailand, post-Tsunami, has been supported by many factors, especially the upcoming opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport in mid-2006. Such factors have led to Pattaya becoming the number one Thai seaside destination for both Thai and foreign tourists since 2005. KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER (KResearch) is of the opinion that the expansion of Pattaya tourism in 2005 was a continuation from 2004, which has been driven by the 7-percent growth in foreign tourists, who represent 70 percent of the overall Pattaya visitors, while the number of Thai tourists remains stable at the level seen in 2004. The total number of Thai and foreign tourists visiting Pattaya throughout 2005 amounted to 5.26 million persons, an increase of 5 percent over 2004.

It is expected that tourists' expenditures during their stay in Pattaya, this year, will generate around Baht 53 billion, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year, spent on the tourism business and other related businesses, 30 percent of which, or about Baht16 billion, will circulate for accommodations at currently some 270 facilities offering nearly 28,000 rooms.

The hospitality industry has grown continuously in Pattaya. Hotels that are showing good growth are those with room rates at the level of Baht 1,000 or more. However, the increase in the number of rooms available in Pattaya has had the effect of reducing the overall occupancy rate from 57.15 percent in 2004, to 55 percent in 2005. However, the average number of guests staying in room at rates Baht 1,500 or more is still growing because this class of hotels competes on quality by improving their facilities and service to attract customers, instead of engaging in price competition.

KASIKORN RESEARCH CENTER forecasts that if the current political turmoil ends peacefully and a quick resolution to the impasse is found, the tourism industry of Pattaya will grow continuously in 2006. It is expected that there will be approximately 5.68 million Thai and foreign tourists visiting Pattaya, rising 8 percent over 2005 and creating handsome tourism income of around Baht60 billion, increasing 13 percent over last year.

Meanwhile, Pattaya tourism will likely be boosted by the opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport and the current popularity of Gulf of Thailand tourism after the Tsunami. Both the government and private sectors should strictly monitor water pollution and the dumping of untreated waste water into the sea. That problem has damaged the image of Pattaya for tourism before, and it has taken a lot of effort to recover tourism there.

Tourism