President of the Business and Tourism Association of Pattaya, Ekasit Ngampichet says he expects tourism in Pattaya to exceed 19 million this year – a 5% growth compared with 2018.

2017 saw 16 million tourists visit Pattaya and this year 19-20 million are expected. Domestic travel has expanded by 50% with Thais travelling a lot more.

The expansion of u-Tapao Airport sitting perfectly between Chonburi and Rayong is also key bringing with its investment both foreign and Thai to Pattaya and its surroundings.

Investment is likely to increase also with Pattaya being strategically placed and the perfect area with the Bangkok-Chonburi Corridor and Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) along with Chachoengsao province.

The Eastern Development Zone is attracting both foreigners and Thais investing in service businesses seeing the opportunities with new hotels, amusements parks, restaurants and malls.

Ronakit Ekasingh, deputy mayor of Pattaya, says: “Other projects such as the high-speed rail link that will link airports to Pattaya and Bangkok will also only aid in the development of the city with future plans to turn Pattaya into a SMART CITY and a hub for future business events and organisations.”

Steady investment to facilitate transport from other places to Pattaya is in the works Ronakit said.

Icon Siam Group is planning to open its brand-new luxury shopping mall/complex in Na Jomtien, investing in excess of Bt10 billion. This, in itself, will create a huge number of employment opportunities and will see a further increase in the number of visitors to the area.

“A study for a big retail project from the shareholders of Iconsiam in the Jomtien area is being conducted,” Ekasit added.

As a tourist destination Pattaya is this year celebrating its 60th anniversary and this coming weekend will see the city will organise the Pattaya International Fireworks Festival on Pattaya beach, mainly to honour His Majesty the King.

Other major events and campaigns are planned throughout the year including the Bikini Beach Race with Central Festival and The Pattaya International Music Festival.