This year’s Pattaya International Fireworks Festival is dead, a victim of government red tape.
City hall announced the cancellation of the Nov. 17-18 event – meant to be a highlight of Pattaya’s international fleet show – on Nov. 3, saying it was unable to get the Interior Ministry to approve its budget on time.
Pattaya has been under pressure from the central government to cut expenses ever since the terms of its elected leaders expired in 2015. The Office of the Auditor General accused the former administration of wasteful spending on a myriad of tourism-promotion events. Now city officials are sticking close the letter of the law.
The Interior Ministry requires that budgets allocated for projects not be more than 20% over initial estimates. It seems the fireworks festival ran over budget, requiring the ministry to sign off on an extension.
But the ministry works slowly and it soon became apparent to city hall that the wheels of government roll past Nov. 17, forcing the city to cancel.