Pattaya continues to be rebranded.
The Thai Tourism Minister, Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, plans another rebranding exercise for Pattaya and four other destinations, with the aim of making it widely known that Pattaya is a family friendly quality beach resort as opposed to one known for its nightlife. The aim is also to encourage high spending tourists to come to Thailand's resorts.
The rebranding will include all of the Eastern Seaboard and it is attractions such as the Cartoon Network Amazone Waterpark in Bang Saray that enables Pattaya to be classed as a quality family and world-class leisure destination.
There have been plenty of initiatives in recent years to embolden the rebranding including the expansion of yachting and golf activities, but City Hall feels that much more can be done to impress on tourists that Pattaya and its surrounds offers a range of other activities for parents and children alike.
Some officials prefer that Pattaya's nightlife be restricted to certain zones, such as walking street and certain sois such as soi 6 or soi 8. Yet, operators already feel that nightlife venue numbers are shrinking amidst the rebranding and this is also against a backdrop of an expanding city.
Healthy living will be on the radar as part of the rebranding with spas and healthy living resorts expecting to attract high spenders. The conference market is also expected to be pushed as well as exhibitions and expos.
The other four places apart from Pattaya and the Eastern Seaboard targeted for changes are Bangkok, Phuket, Nan province and Koh Pangan
Currently the number of Asians as compared to Europeans holidaying in Thailand is growing thus the rebranding should take this fact into account. The average stay in Thailand for holidaymakers is 9.8 days and the average spend by each tourist whilst in the kingdom is around 42,000 baht.
Russians numbers down due to currency woes.
With the Russian Rouble in virtual free fall, Russian tourists are having second thoughts about coming to Pattaya this year.
The Rouble used to be trading at around 32 Roubles to the US Dollar, but has dropped to 63 to the US Dollar. Against the Thai currency, one Rouble was approximately equal to one Thai baht, but now one Thai baht costs nearly two Roubles. Thus it is twice as expensive for Russians to come to Thailand in their local currency terms.
Hotels in Pattaya and in Phuket have reported a sharp drop in the numbers of Russians coming to stay in their resorts. It was the first serious drop in over twelve years.
Sanpetch Suppabawonsathien, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said, "Hotel room reservations from the Russian market have already dropped by 70% for this high season."
The number of Russians coming to Pattaya could drop by half during 2015 if the Russian currency remains week.
The already cheap rates of package tours from Russia are difficult to drop in price, but some agents suggest cutting gala dinners and other extras from package tours in order to make them more affordable.
In the meantime hoteliers have been turning to China, Singapore and Hong Kong for business, in order to take up the slack left behind by the void of Russian tourists. The Chinese are now the biggest market for Pattaya, with Russians currently in third place.
The number of Russians expected to arrive through ATTA certified agents are expected to reduce to 80,000 per month, and possibly even as low as 50,000 per month. This is down from above 200,000 per month before the Rouble’s devaluation.
Thailand remains auto production leader.
According to The ASEAN Automotive Federation, Thailand remains the leader of Automobile production within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) pact. The main reason is that the Eco Car Phase II program has been a success and was correctly timed.
The program provides promotional extras to carmakers for making eco friendly models. Nine automakers accounting for one million units per year are already part of the program with privileges expected to be extended to another carmaker that is currently producing 100,000 vehicles per year.
Overall Thailand makes 1.9 million cars per year, just shy of its two million vehicle target. The ASEAN group of nations as a whole has a target of four million cars per year. An improving US economy makes the target achievable. As much as fifty per cent of Thai-made cars made to Euro 4 standard could be available for export. Auto sales within Thailand are also expected to grow during 2015.