Thailand’s third most popular tourist destination, Pattaya is an economic engine for Thailand’s tourism industry and this is being recognised with current and planned infrastructure investment from both the public and private sectors.
The Transport Ministry and Royal Thai Navy have agreed a plan to develop U-Tapao-Rayong-Pattaya International Airport with an expected six-fold increase in traffic by 2020. The 1.7 billion baht expansion will increase annual passenger capacity to 3 million and boost the region’s tourist potential through increased connectivity.
In addition to a number of domestic routes by Thai Air Asia, Bangkok Airways and Kan Airlines, the international flight roster is growing. Air Asia recently started flying from Malaysia four times a week, Emirates connects Pattaya with Dubai and Thai Air Asia are planning flights to a number of Chinese destinations in the near future.
In addition to the airpot expansion, a new expressway is planned from Bangkok to Map Ta Phut in Rayong, cutting down journey time to the Eastern Seaboard and opening up the region, while a high-speed trail proposal from Bangkok to Rayong remains on the table.
The Transport Ministry have also proposed an East-West ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Hin. With travel time expected to be 1.5-2 hours as opposed to 4-5 hours by road, the feasibility study is underway and the ferry is expected to be in operation by 2020.
With investment flowing into Pattaya and its surrounds, the region looks set to see continued economic growth.