Clean and family-friendly are words that don’t exactly spring to mind when thinking about Pattaya. More surprising though might be World-Class Sports Destination, which is what the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and Pattaya are poised and fully intend to do.
If you didn’t know, Pattaya already hosts a range of sporting events:
- PTT Pattaya Tennis Open with superstar Maria Sharapova making a regular appearances, a fan favorite of the large Russian community there
- ASEAN PGA Tour – Singh’s Pattaya Open with at least $660,000 prize money
- Pattaya Marathon – The Most Beautiful 42 km Marathon in the World
- Top of the Gulf Regatta – a large multiclass sailing event at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club
- Bike Week Festival – Bringing bikers together from all over the world
- FIVB Women’s International Beach Volleyball Tournament 2014
- Other huge events include the Pattaya Music Festival and the International Fireworks Festival.
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In addition, transportation and the hospitality infrastructure in Pattaya are already in the ground to facilitate the bigger crowds that follow volleyball and football if the city could host more events. The key to the plan, introduced in October 2014 and in planning stages, is centralizing the organization of events and promotions into a yearly schedule and taking full advantage of the sports facilities that are already in place such as the Bira Race Circuit aka Pattaya Circuit. Pattaya is also working on a better management plan to control waste, pollution and traffic congestion.
In 2013, Pattaya reached its highest ever 10 million visitors and over 100 billion baht in tourism generated revenue to set another record. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, foreigners account for 75% of all visitors and contribute the most to Pattaya. The average length in the resort city was 3.4 days.
Visitors from the United Kingdom, Germany and Netherlands averaged a longer 10 to 12 days stay and are usually repeat vistors. There is a large Russian community taking up a more permanent base in areas of Pattaya. And while Chinese visitors have increased over the years (and winning more gold medals in the World Olympics and Asian Games), their average stays in Pattaya are only 2.5 days for the moment. The goal is to extend average stay to 4 days with the help of more sports events and promotions.
Convinced that Pattaya can leverage its strengths more, government and private agencies like the Thai Hotels Association, tourist operators and local communities are working together to upgrade Pattaya’s night life image to a world-class sports destination. The first sports event calendar is planned to debut next year.