Pattaya officials will reconsider their decision to kill the budget for November’s annual longboat races after Nongprue Sub-district’s mayor complained the city was shooting the area’s tourism industry in the foot.
Mai Chaiyanit said Pattaya City Hall’s move to revoke the million-baht budget for the two-day race festival – which also features dirt bike competitions, judging of the best looking and best-built longboats, buffalo racing and school drum corps competitions – will kill an event that has run annually for 16 years and is already on the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s 2017 event calendar.
Pattaya, he argued, is the main beneficiary of the races at Mabprachan Lake, as attendees stay and eat in the city. Thus, he said, Pattaya has always provided the supporting budget.
Pattaya Mayor Anan Charoenchasri said the decision to kill the longboat race’s budget came as part of a city review of all the projects it funded under previous administrations. Following the replacement of Pattaya’s elected city council in 2015, the junta’s Office of the Auditor General criticized the former administrators for “wasteful spending”, which resulted in cancellations of several big-name events, including this year’s Pattaya Music Festival and the 2016 Pattaya Countdown.
City business leaders have slammed city hall for killing off projects that drive tourism throughout the year.
Anan said Pattaya is being very careful with its funds these days and, based on 2016 Ministry of Interior regulations, felt Banglamung District should fund the races, not Pattaya City.
However, he said, in light of Mai’s appeal, the city council will reconsider the budget, with a decision likely to be made by the end of the month.