The well-healed medi-tourist is attracted by the competitive cost of medical treatment in Pattaya’s well established international hospitals and five-star tourists,too, will continue to flock here due to continuing investment in up-market hotels and resorts, by such illustrious names as the present incumbents, Amari, Sheraton, and Marriott, with proposed upmarket resort developments by Centara, Hilton, Movenpick, Inter Continental and Le Me’ridien between 2008 and 2010.
2007 saw an impressive 6.85 million visitors to Pattaya. Over the last five years, there has been an increase rate of a million every two years and this is bound to increase in the future due to the efforts of the Pattaya City Fathers’ efforts to internationalise the city by publicizing it abroad, in conjunction with the Thai Tourist Authority.
|The demography of the visitors is changing, however; away from traditional tourists from the UK and Western Europe and increasingly towards the CIS states and Asian countries, such as South Korea, China, and India, who showed significant increases by 81%, 25% and 51%, respectively. The largest single increase, however, was from Russia. From January to June 2007, 558,608 Russians visited Pattaya, a massive increase from the 482,587 Russian tourists during 2006. This is destined to mushroom if the air carriers increase their flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg to all year round, rather than just over the four months of the high season as at present.|
|Apparently Bruno Pingel, CEO of Siam Best Enterprises, the developers of the prestigious Ocean One Tower, the proposed largest residential building in Southeast Asia, credited the Russians with kick starting the renaissance of the Pattaya property market, last year. And Raimon Land also show high regard for this nationality group as they represented 22% of the total value of international investment, or Bt250 million, with the company in Pattaya, last year. The majority of this group were what I have termed YURIs – Young Upwardly Mobile Russian Investors – and investors from the Russian oil industry.
Raimon Land also saw property purchases by Thai nationals of over Bt200 million (19% of total investment), followed by the UK and Australia (10%) Germany (6%) and Bt1.1 billion from America, Sweden, China, Estonia and Ireland in 2007.
Pattaya is increasingly being seen as an upmarket lifestyle destination with its myriad all-year-round leisure pursuits, ranging from golf and water sports to traditional cultural excursions to the pilgrimage centres of the royal temple complex at Wat Yansangwararam and the Chinese temple of Vihansien. Wellness retreats, yoga centres and spas also feature significantly as upmarket pursuits as do the plethora of fine dining restaurants, which have been opening over the past five years. The proposed developments of The Beach, a Disneyland style cyber city-cum-water theme park and the floating market, residence and shopping centre behind Jomtien Beach will also significantly act as further attractions and add to the diversity of available activities.
|Pattaya’s increasing accessibility to the capital, significantly enhanced by the designated fast-rail link and completion of the Chonburi Bypass, reducing travelling time to 45 minutes, which will make the potential of commuting increasingly viable. All of which will make a welcome addition to the incumbent population of retirees, buy-to-let investors, part-year and full time foreign residents in this dynamic resort city.
The demand for increasingly luxurious accommodation is largely being catered to by local large scale developers, such as Siam Best Enterprises with their Ocean One Tower and international companies like Raimon Land with their Northpoint development and CB Richard Ellis’ management project at White Sand Beach, Jomtien, amongst others. The fact that these are largely pre-build investments with high capital appreciation potential is another significant feature of the property trends in this rapidly changing city. Floreat Pattaya (long may Pattaya flourish).