Pattaya’s tourism sector had its best non-holiday weekend in memory as Bangkokians escaped rigid coronavirus restrictions to enjoy cars, food, skateboarding and an island retreat.
Tourists from the capital and nearby provinces who weren’t waiting to board ferries to Koh Larn stayed behind at the Cars and Coffee Club event at Bali Hai Pier, stuffed themselves at a Central Festival Pattaya Beach food fair or went walking and eating in Naklua.
The pier drew about 15,000 people for boats to Koh Larn, which has seen pre-coronavirus crowds for two weekends since reopening to the public.
Near the boats, more than 1,000 tourists and locals checked out fancy cars and munched on food-truck fare at Cars and Coffee Club on Vacation: Skaters Paradise in Pattaya.
Mayor Sonthaya Kunplome joined top Tourism Authority of Thailand officials March 20 for the opening of the Saturday-Sunday fair, which featured more than 350 vintage, exotic, high-end and unique vehicles.
Parked around the South Pattaya jetty’s multipurpose zone were 15 food trucks, offering spectators a huge variety of fast food to choose from.
Wheels of a different sort also were featured, with the Skaters Paradise event, which saw hundreds of skateboard and inline-skate enthusiasts young and old show off their skills.
The area around the pier was renovated recently so that extreme sports could be held there to attract more sports enthusiasts – both adults and children – to come to Pattaya to participate in these sports, thus promoting business and tourism to Pattaya.
Down the road at Central Festival, Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh opened the Beach Food Festival 2021.
Popular and gourmet food and beverages and Thai music will draw tourists to the beachfront mall every weekend through April 19, with popular acts including J. Jetrin, Indigo Klear, Boy Peacemaker, and more taking the stage at 8 p.m. many nights.
The festival kicked off with J. Jetrin while Ae Jirakorn will perform March 25 and Boy Peacemaker March 26.
Klear performs April 3, followed by Zom Marie Rooftop April 10. April 16 sees Colorpitch while Songkran will appear April 17, followed by Indigo on the 18th and the festival wraps April 19 with Three Man Down.
In Naklua, more music filled the air as the Walk & Eat market continued.
The volume of visitors brought smiles to the faces of business operators who said Thais and expats still consider Pattaya a favorite weekend destination, even if most city businesses remain closed. They are drawn by the number of smaller fairs and festivals.
Tourists’ biggest complaints are the ongoing roadworks causing traffic problems and a lack of garbage bins.