Tourism Chief and DASTA Determined To Change Pattaya's Image
The chief of Pattaya’s tourism office has said that changing the resort’s seedy image is not something that can be expected to happen overnight but Sinchai Watanasartsathorn said he was determined to work with all sectors both public and private to change the city's image - and one day he will succeed. Sinchai, a chamber of commerce and tourism expert, was talking to the Pattaya News following a story that appeared online in the UK’s Mirror newspaper.
The Mirror called Pattaya the “Sex Capital of the World”, reporting that there were 27,000 prostitutes in the city, or one in five of the female population and that all this goes on despite pay for play being illegal in the kingdom. “It is undeniable that stories like this have a detrimental effect on Pattaya” said Sinchai. “It is especially bad for people who have never been here and those that are weighing up their decisions whether to come or not”.
Sinchai does not have rose tinted spectacles though – he accepted that the resort has got it's adult playground image for good reason and this has been going on for many many years. “But both the public and private sector are determined to change this image. It will take time and certainly cannot be achieved overnight but we will ultimately be successful.” Sinchai continued.
He said that many people were actively promoting new tourist trends to show that Pattaya has much more to offer than just the sex industry and that this intuitive is vital to attract new and increased investment.
Meanwhile the police said that despite the fact there were many crimes committed in Pattaya they were doing their best to address the issues and solve the crimes. “We need a long term plan,” said a hopeful Sinchai as he called on all sides to improve the resort’s image in the future.
This follows on from a story published by the Bangkok Post today that reports that the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (Dasta) is aiming to strengthen local tourism in Pattaya and improve the city's image among foreign tourists.
Dasta Deputy Director General Taweebhong Wichaidit said a plan is in progress to change Pattaya's image from a “sin city” to a family entertainment destination. Officials are promoting tourism areas such as Baan Chark Ngaew, Takien Tia, Nong Prue, Nong Pla Lai, Huay Yai, Khao Chee Jan and Khao Mai Kaew, all of which offer scenic views of nature.
Tourists in these areas can experience the local lifestyle away from Pattaya's nightlife and beaches in places such as Baan Chark Ngaew, a 100-year-old Chinese community. Mr Taweebhong said the effort to change Pattaya's image may be difficult, but Dasta will work to promote alternative tourism for Thai and international travellers who want to see authentic local culture and nature.
“We aim to strengthen local communities to generate more tourist revenue within two years, and then they will be stronger in using their assets to present themselves as new tourist attractions” he said. Dasta is trying to create local tourist attractions and activities and revitalise nature sites to attract both local and foreign travellers.
Baan Chark Ngaew represents Chinese vintage life, while Nong Prue shows a religious and cultural dimension with a mix of Christian, Buddhist and Muslim influences and Khao Chee Jan is home to 11 royal projects conforming with the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej's sufficiency economy philosophy.
“I strongly believe that Chon Buri's designated areas will offer more dimensions to Thais and international travellers in the future” Mr Taweebhong said. Dasta focuses on designated areas to help distribute income to local communities and reduce poverty. It said it will let the Tourism Authority of Thailand present the new tourist attractions.
Dasta has worked for more than five years to push community-based tourism and aims to distribute tourism revenue to 2,500 districts nationwide in 2017, up from 1,500 districts last year.