Pattaya tourism leaders’ preparation for AEC in full swing

Friday, 29 November 2013 From Issue Vol. XXI No. 48 By  Warunya Thongrod

Pattaya tourism leaders’ preparation for the ASEAN Economic Community was on full display as city officials and tourism-industry leaders met for a two-day “Pattaya New Look” symposium at the Amari Orchid Resort & Tower.

Hosted by Rattanachai Sutidechanai, chairman of the city council’s Tourism and Culture Committee, the Nov. 18-20 workshop saw industry leaders call for upgrades to Pattaya’s retail offerings, international marketing, and public relations once the AEC opens in 2015.

(L to R) Pol. Col Anaek Srathongyu, Wasan Sriburanasorn, Rattanachai Suthidechanai, Bundarik Kusolvitya and Glit Jeeramongkol are spearheading “Pattaya’s New Look”.(L to R) Pol. Col Anaek Srathongyu, Wasan Sriburanasorn, Rattanachai Suthidechanai, Bundarik Kusolvitya and Glit Jeeramongkol are spearheading “Pattaya’s New Look”.

“We need to not just improve entertainment areas like Walking Street, but show that the city has many other tourist attractions,” said Bundarik Kusolvitya, president of the Thai Hotels Association Eastern Region. “If we do not come up with something new, then will just keep receiving the same types of tourists we always have.”

Rakchai Rengsomboon, vice president of the Thai Gift Premiums & Decorative Association, addressed steps that should be taken to make Pattaya’s stores and retail chains more appealing to international buyers.

Taweepong Weechaidit, managing director of Special Properties, said Pattaya will need to upgrade its marketing processes to compete with other major tourist cities in the region.

Wasan Sriburanasorn, creative director of the Fresh Air Festival Co., said likewise of the city’s public relations efforts, especially if local businesses hope to get some of the 2 trillion baht the government aims to inject into the economy per year from tourism.

Rattanachai acknowledged that bad press pushed him to organize the “New Look” seminar.

“After Pattaya had problems with its safety system for tourists, the government became more strict and decided to organize the seminar to improve Pattaya, proposing a slogan of “Pattaya: Definitely More.”

The workshop also offered more-practical lectures, including tips on improving the economy under the AEC from Piti Srisangnam, director of academic affairs at Chulalongkorn University’s ASEAN Studies Center.

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