Pattaya is a city that has expanded exponentially in the past few decades and it is fair to say that, to date, the investment in infrastructure has not taken place at the same rate.
There are a number of factors involved in Pattaya’s rapid growth – the increase in tourism, the expansion of the industrial estates on the Eastern Seaboard and the city’s improved image – to name but a few.
Pattaya is a great place to live and while it may receive some negative feedback on certain forums, this is often from people who haven’t visited the city for years.
One of the main reasons for the increased investment in Pattaya is due to the increased number of tourists. Let’s face it, if the city were still a fishing village, then large-scale investment wouldn’t be required.
We often hear expats complain that Pattaya is ‘dead’ and ‘no one comes here anymore’.
This, of course, isn’t true. People are still coming to Pattaya in their droves, it is just that they are different people. Westerners now make up a smaller percentage, but that’s because the Chinese and Russian tourists outnumber them!
You only have to look at the investment in new condos and hotels to realise people continue to flock to Pattaya.
If that were not the case why would developers invest here?
The city, as I mentioned in last month’s article, has expanded both to the north and the south in recent times and places such as Bang Saray are now unrecognisable compared to a few years ago. New hotels are being built throughout Pattaya and investment properties are becoming big business.
Of course, to be able to cope with the increase in condos and hotels there needs in be increased investment in the infrastructure in the city.
With the greater influx of people, there has been increased congestion so efforts have been made to address this.
The tunnel on Sukhumvit Road, near to the Pattaya Klang junction is a case in point. This was designed to relieve the strain on the roads and, in fairness, has achieved this even though there was major disruption during its construction.
With the increase in buildings and therefore concrete, places for rainwater to run off have been reduced. This has led to flash flooding in some areas with the drainage systems simply unable to cope with the excess water. As a result, City Hall installed an improved drainage system on Pattaya Beach Road although there will be many that argue, quite rightly, that this still isn’t sufficient but at least it demonstrates that large-scale investment is taking place.
There are other major investments being made in the city too.
Terminal 21, which will be opening later this month, signifies that the company recognises Pattaya’s potential for growth. The existing shopping malls, initially at least, are likely to feel the strain and have responded by investing to improve both Central Marina and Mike Shopping Mall. When one invests, the others follow suit which, again, drives growth and expansion.
Pattaya has unquestionably improved its image in recent years.
The city had become almost infamous and many Thais would frown at the mere mention of the place. Nowadays, that has changed. Thais now see Pattaya as an acceptable destination and are not only willing to visit, they are also willing to invest in holiday homes and weekend retreats.
The thought of this only in the recent past would have been sneered at if you had even the audacity to mention the idea.
It is not only in western Pattaya where we have seen investment.
Large-scale investment has been seen in East Pattaya too. Talk of a Robinson shopping mall being built and improved road links point to the area’s popularity and success. These types of investment don’t take place without appropriate due diligence being carried out. Feasibility studies will have been done with the information and findings undergoing massive scrutiny. These are not million-dollar investments, these are billion dollar investments.
Of course, with the increase in the numbers of people coming to the area, there needed to be an improvement to the road links. The Highway 7 was extended to North Pattaya some years ago but is now being extended further through East Pattaya as we discussed.
Other roads are also being improved to make getting to and from Pattaya easier. Again, these are large investments, you only have to look at other parts of the country to appreciate that the city receives special attention.
The forthcoming Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) is also another example of huge investment in the area. This is a project that covers a staggering 13,000 square kilometers covering Laem Chabang, Chachoengsao and Map Ta Phut, designed to attract big business to the area.
The investment is said to be in the region of $43 billion and this is not something that is ‘pie in the sky’, it is something that has actually been agreed and passed by the Thai Cabinet back in 2016.
The EEC is expected to create around 100,000 jobs by 2020 which will no doubt trigger even greater investment in the area.
With the Board of Investment (BOI) incentives in place, it is anticipated that there will be increased overseas interest and, with it, investment. This will be a massive boost for the area and this includes Pattaya.
Pattaya is already a desirable place to live so will become the likely home for many of the expats coming to the area.
With the agreement for the EEC already in place, the expansion of U-Tapao Airport can’t go unnoticed. Now regarded as Bangkok’s third airport, although the distance from Bangkok may lead many to question this, it has made it far easier for both tourists and business travelers to get to the area. The airport is far smaller than Suvarnabhumi which will appeal to those who are looking to quickly fly in and fly out again. This is a good move for business travelers working or visiting the Eastern Seaboard.
Of course, if we talk of U-Tapao then the high-speed rail link also needs to be mentioned. This is something that has been discussed for years if not decades, not only at boardroom and cabinet level but around the bars of Pattaya!
Thailand’s rail network, if we were being kind, is poo. There are many expletives that could be used to further illustrate how people really feel. However, the new rail link, linking Bangkok with Rayong would be up there with some of the best in Asia.
Naturally, this would involve huge investment but all indications seem to suggest that it will take place.
Investment in Pattaya and the surrounding areas is plain to see. It has been happening for several years, it is happening at present and it will continue for years to come. Pattaya is constantly changing and expanding and has always been attractive. The demographics may have changed over the years but the popularity has never waned.
Investment by both the public and the private sector is on a large scale and this should be recognised.
As mentioned, due diligence and feasibility studies will have been done by all parties all have come to the same conclusion, investment in Pattaya is worthwhile.