A few expats in Pattaya have recently coined a phrase across social networks that has hitherto been reserved for cities having experienced a terrorist attack; this in relation to what they cite as the fall away of Pattaya of old – citing empty restaurants and bars as being a shadow of their former glory days. They claim that Pattaya is not what it once was, and for that we must ‘pray for pattaya’.
On face value I can understand, although not agree, with their positions. Tourism in Pattaya is up, but for most business tourism is down. You see although the streets may be heaving with Chinese tour buses and locations like Bali Hai look more like the Beijing in rush hour than a seaside pier, business do not get a slice of this Chinese Yuan Currency coming in to the country – this reserved strictly for the tour operators and their cliché.
Traditional leisure operations designed originally for the Western single male tourist are feeling the pinch – but isn’t the truth that they have been feeling this pinch year on year ever since the pound crashed against the baht in 2008 – with the Brits losing almost 30% on their exchange rate from 72 baht to 52 baht per 100 baht. Anyone retired here in Thailand became 30% poorer practically overnight.
And then the Russian arrived in mass and Pattaya started to see couples and families holidaying in a resort previously reserved for older, single white males wanting nothing more than to drink, party, pick up women. – And for some at least, play golf. The changes in Pattaya were already beginning.
The Russian market energised the property with even lower end Russians dreaming of a holiday home abroad buying into the Pattaya dream…and then the Ruble crashed and these Russians dreams were shattered, with many unable to make final payments on their off plans units. And just like that, Pattaya had a glut of new property needed selling to complete the projects.
Pattaya,l ike Thailand actually, consistently has boom and busts, but each time shows great bouncebackability…and after the Russians the saviours were the Chinese.
Speaking to many realtors and developers that have tapped in to this market, they believe the Chinese property buyer has another 5 years of boom left.
So parking these global changes that impacted on Pattaya evolving, take a look a little closer at what has been going on in the bars, or for that matter what hasn’t.
Bar girls found mobile phones – they found Badoo, Tinder and even Facebook to meet guys – and that changed the whole landscape for beer bars. Guys in the bars were no longer needed like they were before – and that was crushing. The single males Pattaya Disneyland was being dismantled, and being done so very quickly.
Maybe others should not be saying ‘Pray for Pattaya’ but ‘Rejoice in New Pattaya’ – and place you can now have a family and bring your kids to for a holiday. Pattaya has so much to offer now, and any nay-sayer who disses Pattaya just hasn’t scraped the surface and their opinions should be discarded.
A cleaner Pattaya that can now tap into the forecasted 50 million tourists that analysts say will be visiting Thailand by 2030, up massively on the already record breaking 30m + tourists already visiting this great country.
Does Pattaya want a piece of this pie? Absolutely – the future is very rosy if it offers the right proposition to this new breed of tourists gracing our shores.
We can live in the past and stagnate or we can jump on board – unfortunately the one constant in life is change so embrace the future and be part of it, or fall by the side.