Pattaya’s gay celebrations have huge commercial investment

The 2024 Pattaya Pride is receiving sponsorship like never before.

PATTAYA, Thailand – June 2024 is slated to be Thailand’s biggest ever pride event with making money the key element. Central Pattana (CPN), which is listed on the Thai stock exchange and owns the Central Pattaya mall – the world’s largest natural beachfront shopping center – knows the score. Chief marketing officer Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana said the Rainbow Economy had tremendous potential, especially as the international gay market was rich and loved luxury. The legalization of gay marriage is expected before the end of the year.

CPN, which has hosted gay events in the past, this year is hosting the pride celebrations throughout June at its malls in Thailand and hopes to welcome 700,000 visitors at the 24 stores nationwide, including Pattaya. According to its website, CPN will host a mammoth parade in Pattaya on June 22 with over 100 organizations and 10,000 participants. Drag queen shows and cabarets will be part of the spectacle. CPN opened the first integrated shopping center in Bangkok as early as 1982.

Another key player, howbeit very different, is Circuit Festival Asia which is hosting the biggest international gay dance festival in Pattaya on the weekend June 7-9. According to the website, there will be world-famous star DJs, the hottest go go male dancers in Asia and guys across the world ready to party. Circuit, which has teamed up with White Party Bangkok, will host parties at specific Pattaya venues which appear to require registration. Circuit specializes in gay parties which last all night and break up in the morning – though Thailand’s licensing laws could be a limiting factor.

June is also expected to see a surge in non-sponsored hotel bookings throughout Pattaya and extra customers at Boyztown and the Jomtien Complex, the main gay entertainment centers. Vic Anurak, who runs a Pattaya travel and hotel booking agency, said, “It’s going to be busy, though the cost of airfares may limit the number of international gay arrivals.” He added that the huge commercial investment was aimed largely at gay Thais rather than the ageing expat community. “Not many foreigners on retirement visas want to dance until dawn.”