Pattaya has certainly changed as a holiday destination in recent years. Gone are the days where the city was a hotspot for western men looking to find a Thai girlfriend to take back to the UK on a UK Tourist Visa or even a UK Spouse Visa. Although this side of the city still exists, albeit to a lesser extent, the focus is far more on short-term holidaymakers, predominantly families and tour groups from China and Russia.
Has it worked?
The big question is whether this has worked. We are constantly told that the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity, but does this bring in the desired revenue? With the number of bars and restaurants closing their doors for good in 2019, many proprietors would need a lot of convincing. However, certain members of the Thai government still try to convince us that numbers are always increasing.
Although there are lots of different sets of numbers available, here are some that stood out regarding tourists in Pattaya:
- Damrongkiat Phinitkarn, the Secretary of the Entertainment Industry and Tourism Association of Pattaya said tourists figures were down between 20 and 30% in 2019 compared to the previous year.
- Visitors from mainland China fell by 4.73% in the first quarter (later figures unavailable)
- Russian visitors fell by 2.99%
- Japanese visitors increased by 10.73, although this is now a relatively small group
What are the reasons?
There are some very well publicised reasons why tourism has suffered in the last twelve months. Some include:
- The strength of Thai Baht affecting most nationalities
- The boat crash in 2018 in Phuket that killed several Chinese tourists
- The problems of obtaining a visa
What are people doing about it?
Sadly, many long-term tourists (those staying for 90 days or more) are staying away, and many expats are being forced to return home because their businesses have closed or they can’t meet the financial requirements for the Thai Retirement Visa. Most of these expats want their families to return to the UK with them, and this is where we can help!
How can Thai Visa Express help?
Thai Visa Express is a team of professional immigration consultants who are always ready to assist you with your UK visa application in Thailand. We have over 15 years of experience dealing with UK visas & immigration daily, and we are regulated by the Office of Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) in the UK. We offer a free 30-minute consultation from one of our designated caseworkers, contact us today.