Pattaya officials express concern over jet ski scams
Local Tourism Authority of Thailand officials have begun laying out marketing plans for 2012, but its overseas efforts could be hampered by the growing jet ski scandal at home.
At a Feb. 28 Pattaya Business & Tourism Association meeting, TAT Pattaya Director Niti Kongkrut said Brazil and Australia are among Pattaya’s new target markets for potential visitors with “high purchasing power.” At the same time, TAT wants to put more resources into further marketing the city to Russia, India and China.
“Analyses done in Bangkok show that Brazil, China and Russia have strong purchasing power due to continued growth in their economies,” Niti said. “Together with the private sector, we will use this data to make a marketing plan for 2012 that will yield the greatest benefit.”
Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay says the ongoing jet ski problem will hurt tourism if it is not solved immediately.
Deputy Mayor Verawat Khakhay warned, however, that increasing negative publicity abroad about almost daily scams and rip-offs perpetrated by Pattaya Beach jet ski vendors may undermine TAT’s marketing.
The unchecked jet ski scandal – illustrated by YouTube videos, dedicated Facebook pages and in international newspaper reports – “is the most significant thing to damage Pattaya tourism in a long time,” Verawat said. “It has become a daily problem for the Pattaya Police Station.”
As a result, he said, PBTA President Jamroon Vitsavachaipan has asked that the city alert Chonburi Gov. Wichit Chatpaisit to the problem in hopes of finding an immediate solution.
Verawat – nor Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, who was also in attendance – did not explain why they haven’t already taken action or notified the governor themselves.
The PBTA is also laying plans for 2012, announcing at the meeting qualifications for new board members looking to run in the association’s upcoming elections.
Jamroon said the elections will take place at the PBTA’s annual meeting to be scheduled later this year. Before then, however, current members should scout out potential future board members to serve the city.
The PBTA will also take part in a domestic tourism road show in Chiang Mai March 14-18.