At the “Restore Pattaya Tourism” seminar held in the city in the last week of June, delegates were informed about the special tourism stimulus budget of Bt20 million and other elements of a recovery plan for tourism. These include a new marketing strategy and approaching emerging markets, along the lines delineated by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), recently.
World tourists were observed by the organization to have radically different perceptions regarding Thailand. Accordingly, TAT has decided to divide tourists into four categories: Ready to Travel – India, Russia, Indonesia, the Persian Gulf and Scandinavia, who are not sensitive to the Kingdom political situation and are solvent;
Potentially Returning Visitors – most of Europe and the US, who show concern about the political situation and are becoming value-conscious;
Concerned Travellers – China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia, who are very anxious about Thailand political situation and are currently affected by the economic slowdown.
Highly Sensitive Travellers – Japan, Korea and Taiwan, who are extremely sensitive to Thailand political instability and suffering from extreme recession.
TAT decided, as a result if this breakdown analysis, only to concentrate on the two most promising categories. For their part the Pattaya City Council, according to Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh, will approach new emerging markets like Russia, China and India because tourists from those countries usually spend more money than those from other nations”. To augment recent TAT road-shows in India and Macao, Pattaya tourism operators, themselves, intend to target Russia and India, specifically, by also organizing road-shows there. In addition, Pattaya Dusit Thani Resort will soon be hosting a massed wedding for one hundred Chinese couples.
Other hospitability representatives, tour operators and related businesses are offering substantial discounts to any visitors to Pattaya, sometimes of up to 70%. Hotels alone are giving 20,000 free room-nights to visitors in a concerted effort to restore visitors to somewhere near last year?s occupancy rates of 45-65%. Five tourism operators have launched the Pattaya Hi5 Attraction Card? to attract tourists to, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, Tiffany’s, Tuxedo Magic shows and the Thai Alangkarn Theatre, the latter which has seen a decline of 80% in the number of visitors this year.
The failed ASEAN Summit Conference will also be back on the agenda, according to Deputy Mayor Ronakit, to be held once again at Royal Cliff Beach Resort; this time under considerably better security measures.
|Other measures include plans for radical improvements to Pattaya?s infrastructure, particularly roads. The question of making improvements to U-Tapao Airport to bring it up to international standards was also raised. Additional infrastructural developments, these being promoted by the BOI, include a yacht pier and marina at Bali Hi, water activities, culture, motor racing, a convention hall, a hospital and a rehabilitation house.On the entertainment front, Pattaya is intending to host such events as the Pattaya International Pop Music Festival, the Pattaya Marathon, the Thai Hotels Association’s Food and Hotelier Expo and an International Orchid Festival.|
As a final encouragement, Prayote Attatorn, Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries’ Chonburi Chapter, urged all operators and officials to improve the city tourism industry’s human skills, in addition to improving safety and developing the standards of products and services.