Tourism Ministry exec tours Walking Street

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The Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ top bureaucrat toured Walking Street and espoused confidence in Thailand’s second-biggest tourist destination.

Permanent Secretary Pongpanu Sawetrun was joined by Ittirit Kinglek, president of the Tourism Council of Thailand, and top Pattaya-area government, police and business leaders in the Feb. 24 press tour of the South Pattaya nightlife strip.

Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ Permanent Secretary Pongpanu Sawetrun said he found Walking Street to be orderly and full of varied attractions.
Ministry of Tourism and Sports’ Permanent Secretary Pongpanu Sawetrun said he found Walking Street to be orderly and full of varied attractions.

His visit came in response to tabloid news stories in the United Kingdom about Pattaya’s crime and prostitution, but said he found Walking Street to be orderly and full of varied attractions.

Pongpanu stressed that Pattaya offers many mainstream attractions and will only grow into a family resort, with people drawn by golf tournaments and auto racing.

The start of a ferry service linking Pattaya to the more-sedate Hua Hin also will push the city in that direction, he said.

Pongpanu said he’s not worried about sensationalized news from overseas, as Pattaya has strong zoning management and cooperation between government and police officers.

He said the city is growing a “quality tourist” base, as evidenced by the elimination of Chinese “zero-baht” tourists with wealthier mainlanders.

Ittirit said Pattaya is continually improving and will draw a more diverse range of tourists in the future.