Area political and tourism industry officials are scrambling to save the region’s high season by reassuring travel companies and foreign embassies that Pattaya has not been adversely impact by Thailand’s floods.
At a recent press conference, Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, Banglamung District Chief Chawalit Saeng-Uthai, Tourism Authority of Thailand Pattaya office Director Athapol Vannakit, Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn, vice president of the Pattaya Business and Tourism Association and representatives from the Eastern Thai Hotels Association, U-Tapao Pattaya International Airport, Pattaya Tourist Police and Nongprue said they all are mobilizing to get the word out that Pattaya is open for business.
Public servants and private business owners join hands to try and boost spread the word that Pattaya isn’t flooded and is still a preferred holiday destination.
Chawalit said that while Pattaya and Chonburi have set up shelters to take as many as 10,000 flood evacuees, the area can still easily accommodate a high-season share of tourists. Roads, airports, tourist attractions and entertainment venues are all open as normal, he said in an effort to counter foreign news broadcasts that have “caused tourists to perceive that all of Thailand is flooded.”
Athapol said flood fears have resulted in a 45.35 percent drop off in international tourist arrivals since flooding began. Thus, he said, regional organizations are rushing to explain to embassies and the media that Pattaya is unaffected. Forty nations have issued advisories against travel to some or all of Thailand.
He acknowledged that at the end of October nearly 100 percent of Pattaya’s 70,000 hotel rooms were booked, due a migration of flood-affected Thais moving to dry land. But those stays are short-term, he said, and there will be plenty of rooms for the rest of the high season.
TAT and Pattaya officials say high-season business is in jeopardy and Athapol said renewed publicity efforts are needed as TAT press conferences to date have not worked.