Pattaya City is located on the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand. It’s about 100 kilometers south-east of Bangkok. There are several natural and cultural attractions. Attractions include beaches, Pattaya Hill, Chaloem Phra Kiat Park, Pattaya Walking Street, Koh Larn, Takhian Tia Community, Chak Ngaew Community, theme parks and more.
Additionally, Pattaya has quick access to and from Bangkok. Therefore, Pattaya has become a well-known tourist destination in Thailand. According to data from the Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism & Sports, Pattaya had over 9 million visitors in 2015. Respectively, 91% of the local labour force are working in the tourism industry.
Pattaya City Administration and DASTA
In 2008, Pattaya City Administration invited the Designated Areas for Sustainable Tourism Administration (DASTA) to be a center organization in Pattaya’s stakeholder coordination group. This group would help conserving the environment, developing quality of life for the local people. It would also work on ensuring the city becomes a world class destination.
The GSTC Destinations Assessor, Dr. Mihee Kang conducted an onsite assessment of Pattaya and two villages in Chonburi Province during April 3 – 7, 2018. The assessment was funded and facilitated by DASTA. DASTA is a public Thai organization that works towards sustainable tourism developments in Thailand. Additionally, Pattaya asked members from the Natural Resources and Environmental Management Research and Training Center (NREMC) of Mae Fah Luang University to participate as a liaison, in the assessment.
Initially, there was a period of desk preparation. It consisted of stakeholder mapping and related documents review. The key stakeholders for Pattaya, included government authorities, local community, local businesses and more. In total, the GSTC assessor consulted approximately 9 stakeholder groups during the evaluation period. After that was finished, they reviewed the destination’s policies and practices against GSTC’s Criteria for Destinations and Performance Indicators.
Key Takeaways and Results
The assessment results show that Pattaya has high risk in sustainability. It needs to take urgent actions to respond to the identified risks. Environmental management is most urgent and a comprehensive visitor management system is also a priority.
The GSTC urges Pattaya to review the existing plans and regulations from all angles including environmental, socio-cultural and economic sustainability. Finally, the Chonburi Province has progressed well and continues to have regular meetings with business sectors to stay on track with sustainable improvements.