Pattaya's tourist trade is booming with improved services and infrastructure, including hotels, the Fairtex sport complex, cinemas, shopping malls and the upcoming opening of Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Last year 5,338,009 tourists arrived in Pattaya, up 6.5 per cent from 2004, according to the Tourism Authority. Of these, 66 per cent were foreign. With an average length of stay of 3.4 days and average daily expenditures of Bt2,819 per person, tourists spent about Bt48 billion in the resort.
Last year there were 293 hotels and guesthouses with a combined 34,007 rooms in Pattaya. They had an average occupancy rate of 58 per cent.
"In 2005, the hotel occupancy rate grew by 28 per cent. Pattaya has a strong prospect of attracting more tourists in this year," said TAT governor Juthamas Siriwan. Pattaya was benefiting from its proximity to Bangkok, she said, and could be reached in about 90 minutes via two motorways.
In recent years, Pattaya has seen a wide range of tourism-related developments. The Pattaya Beach Bus has recently opened its Red Line service, which runs a lengthy, circular route around the city. Healthland Spa has just opened one of its popular resorts. Meanwhile, Fairtex is Pattaya's newest entertainment complex, combining a Thai boxing school for foreigners, a traditional Thai massage service and fitness centre.
Suchat Sritama, The Nation