Pattaya ‘should rebrand itself as a family destination’
Pattaya has been urged to rebrand itself as a family and MICE destination after a study showed that more visitors from neighbouring countries will visit the city when the Asean Economic Community comes into full effect next year.
According to a recent study by the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA), Pattaya – famed for its nightlife – needs heavy development in four major areas.
They are: addressing water pollution and other environmental issues, building several new landmarks, adding more activities or attractions, and developing infrastructure.
However, DASTA said some of the proposed initiatives like new landmarks required consultation with the community before commencing.
DASTA managing director Taweebhong Wichaiditgnated said that Pattaya needed to rebrand itself to create a positive image so it attracted more families and a larger slice of the lucrative MICE market.
“Pattaya has been growing for more than 30 years and now is placed as a regional tourist city and also a multinational city,” Taweebhong said.
“But all that has come without plans and a development direction, so there are many problems to solve now, while more attractions are also needed.”
DASTA was established during the government of Thaksin Shinawatra. The body was set up to develop new tourist attractions and improve tourism facilities.
The government granted it a budget of Bt15 billion from 2013-22. One of its main goals is to deliver sustainable tourism.
It has budgeted Bt154 million for developments in Pattaya next year.
In Pattaya, DASTA has proposed upgrading three attractions – the Bali Hai cape, the ancient Chinese town of Chak-ngaew, and the fishing village in Nakrue. It also wants to turn Koh Lan into a green island.
Last year, 9 million foreign tourists visited Pattaya, generating revenue of more than Bt80 billion.
“If Pattaya’s image is restored, the number of tourists could reach 15 million per year in 2019,” Taweebhong said.