Since opening towards the end of 2018, Terminal 21 has gone from strength to strength and has probably brought the best out in other shopping centres such as Central Festival and the recently refurbished Central Marina. However, Mike Shopping Mall and Royal Garden Plaza have been more negatively impacted so the city is waiting to see if and how they respond to the challenge.
It is fair to say that the impact which Terminal 21 has had on Pattaya has been on the whole quite positive. They have a wide variety of shops including chain stores and boutique stores that appeal to a large audience. As we have mentioned, other shopping malls have been impacted with some already responding giving customer greater options which will also be welcomed by most. However, there seems to be little impact on pricing although this was perhaps to be expected with the rents that the stores pay in more upmarket venues.
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In terms of restaurants, Terminal 21 has a superb range to choose from that is arguably better than in any of the other malls. You can get food from all around the world with plenty of chains and franchises there but also some privately run restaurants. The downside is that many are on the expensive side with menus often not including VAT or a 10% service charge in the prices shown on the menu with this hidden away in the small print. The food court is, however, cheaper than Central Festival which will inevitably appeal to some.
Terminal 21 has a very open feel and, as such, doesn’t have a claustrophobic feel that you may sometimes associate with shopping centres. It does get busy, particularly at weekends but this is to be expected and seems a popular place to see and be seen. As it has a number of different entrances, getting in and out is easy without the hassle of having to fight your way past the masses which makes the overall experience far pleasanter. The mall has become something of a tourist attraction in its own right with visitors having their photos taken with the Eiffel Tour, Leaning Tower of Pisa and other famous buildings that are scaled down in Terminal 21.
Local shops and restaurants in the area seem to have been largely unaffected with indeed some actually benefitting from an increase in the number of people in the area. This is definitely a positive for North Pattaya and Naklua area with even some bars also claiming to be busier as a direct result. There is little doubt that the area is certainly busier so for the city as a whole, you would have to argue that this is a good thing.
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Of course, as with any large new development, there are some negatives of which the increased traffic in the area is certainly one. The planning that went into the re-opening of Dolphin roundabout along with the entrances and exits seems to have been at best, ill-thought out. Extensive changes were needed rather than token gestures that have seen heavy congestion in the area, particularly at weekends.
Another downside is that all shops are relatively expensive and this is especially evident in the restaurants where drinks prices are comparable with western cities. These high prices so far haven’t had the impact that some may have imagined but many predict that when the novelty wears off, some will suffer. This is not ideal for either the shopping centre or the city as a whole.