2018 certainly was a tough year for Pattaya in terms of western tourists, however visitor numbers were up for Asian tourists. There were several significant improvements to the city’s infrastructure; the new motorway extension linking the Highway 7 to Utapao and Map Ta Phut construction has now been completed, and just waiting for the opening date, which will give a significant boost to the Eastern Seaboard as well as easing the pressure on the Highway 36. These major road improvements open the gateway for the EEC to really play a significant role within ASEAN.
In addition, we have seen the major improvements at U-Tapao making it really become an international airport. The new Terminal building is now open and is a much better experience for travellers. The development of Terminal 2 is now underway.Again, this is something that will play a major role in the economic development of the area.
Of course, we couldn’t recap on 2018 without mentioning the completion of Terminal 21 and the attached Centerpoint Hotel. This has been a wake-up call to the other shopping malls in the area that they really need to become a more attractive proposition or fall by the wayside. The Centerpoint Hotel just proves that Pattaya is a first-class resort attracting global hotel groups investing billions of baht. Quite a compliment for a city that started out as a sleepy fishing village in the early 1970’s.
Luxurious 178.27 sqm condo for sale in Ocean Marina, right at the new exit to the highway to Utapao
So, what do we KNOW is coming in 2019?
The long-awaited high-speed rail link that seems to have been talked about for years linking Bangkok with Rayong has been approved by the government and is now in progress with an expected operational date in late 2023. The rail link will include a station in Pattaya and will significantly reduce travel times to and from the capital along with easing congestion on the highways. This move is likely to attract more short-term visitors to Pattaya – something that is always welcome and will have a positive impact on the local hotels and businesses.
As we are all more than aware, there is always a large amount of construction in Pattaya, moving the city forward to become a world-class destination. Whilst we can expect some smaller, boutique hotels to open, the significant players will be the major international chains. The new Marriot Courtyard in Naklua Soi 22 in North Pattaya in scheduled to open in 2019 as too is the new Amari Towers opposite Terminal 21. In Soi Buakhao, a new Holiday Inn will open bringing even more visitors to an already thriving area of the city.
Naturally, the real estate industry will also see some new developments coming in 2019 including the pyramid shaped Marina Golden Bay from the Global Top Group, Solaire from Heights Holdings and Empire from Matrix. Of course, other major developments have been taking place and will continue to take place throughout the year with more project launches inevitably in the offing. The eagerly awaited construction of Riviera Monaco will also commence as will Ocean Drive, the Edge from Sansiri or Copacabana in Jomtien.
Still some fantastic units available in Riviera Monaco or Ocean Drive
What we would LIKE to see in 2019
I am sure that most people will agree that the new Terminal 21 has been a major boost to Pattaya. However, the chaos that has been caused on numerous roads in the area has put something of a dampener on things. Few would argue that this problem should and probably was foreseen long before it became an issue. We would all like to see some improvements to the road network in the area and recognise that these improvements need to be significant and something that will last for years and not a simple quick fix.
As we have mentioned before in our articles, many of the roads in Pattaya and the surrounding areas are excellent but sadly this is not the case universally. There are many roads that need to be improved, particularly the ones that are subject to flash flooding. The problem with flash flooding across the city is significant and happens year in, year out, and this needs to be addressed as it a source of embarrassment for the city and could negatively impact on its future development.
Again, to move the city forward into the world-class destination that we all crave there are certain things that need to be addressed. The road network is congested almost throughout the year with swathes of coaches carrying tourists to entertainment venues and then parking up and causing further chaos. If a Park and Ride system were to be set up then this would again be a major positive for the area, reducing congestion and making it a safer place to live and visit.
A tram system is something that has frequently been mentioned but has never really got off the ground, largely due to opposition from Baht bus drivers. A tram system would reduce congestion whilst at the same time reducing pollution so therefore would be environmentally friendly. Surely this should be something that should be a long-term objective for those at City Hall?
Whilst we all recognise the improvements that have been made to Pattaya Beach in terms of the coastal erosion, most would tend to think that the problem is going to rear its ugly head again sooner rather than later. A long-term solution should be put in place, one that will ultimately save money and stop the problem. In addition, the pollution on the beaches and in the sea in Pattaya Bay is a disgrace. However, it is not only the sea that needs to be addressed but also the many unofficial dumps around the city and the fumes from vehicles which would be totally unacceptable in the Western world.
Finally, we keep talking about the huge boost Terminal 21 has brought and there have been rumours of a Robinsons coming to East Pattaya but surely a shopping mall in Jomtien should be next on the list. Jomtien is lacking in shopping facilities on the same scale as Pattaya and the commute to and from downtown Pattaya can be difficult especially at busy periods. Again, it would appear sensible for this to be addressed as the demand is certainly there.
Very attractive 1 bedroom for sale in a residence not far from Terminal 21
Pattaya is a city that is on the up and no one would argue with this. The growth has been beyond most people’s wildest dreams and probably, for this reason, improvements to the aging infrastructure have not kept pace. 2019 looks like a promising year, but infrastructure improvements are a top priority for city hall for Pattaya to keep pace with other cities in Asia.