Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Yachting to lead Thai east coast tourism revival: boat-show organisers

Aug 05. 2019
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By THE NATION

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PATTAYA, Thailand – Thailand’s east coast has become a leading destination for visitors from around the world and a priority region in which businesses are looking to invest. Planned road, rail and air infrastructure improvements as well as inland investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor project are set to have a significant impact on business and leisure in the region, and the east coast’s marine industry is well positioned to support this growth.

Located at the heart of the region’s marine industry and yachting tourism is Ocean Marina Yacht Club, the largest marina in Southeast Asia and home to the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show which will take place for the eighth time from November 21-24, 2019.

“Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show is one of our signature marine events and has grown considerably since its launch in 2012. Visitors reached almost 6,000 last year and were up 5 per cent year on year, while overall numbers are up 183 per cent since year one,” said Napong Paripontpochanapisuti, managing director, Ocean Property Co Ltd, organisers of the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show.

“We invest more than Bt10 million each year in developing the show and marketing it overseas and throughout Thailand, and we are targeting a 20 per cent growth in the number of visitors this year. Our aim is for the show to be a platform for the industry, to promote marine-related businesses and services, yachting tourism, and showcase the stunning coastline and islands along Thailand’s east coast, as well as introducing the boating lifestyle to more Thais.”

Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show helped to generate Bt2.5 billion of business for Thailand’s marine industry in 2018. Although the country’s tourism is currently experiencing a dip, the fundamentals remain strong and the east coast’s future looks bright with yachting tourism expected to contribute significantly to the tourism sector.

“The first four months of the year were very strong and although visitors during May and June have tapered off, the total number of tourists joining boat trips at Ocean Marina Yacht Club in the first half is up 2 per cent year on year. Chinese and Korean tourists remain the top day trippers but what is encouraging is the number of Thais who are enjoying time on the water – Thai nationals were our third largest nationality in the first half,” said Scott Finsten, the harbour master of Ocean Marina Yacht Club, organisers of the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show.

This bodes well for yachting tourism on the east coast. With its proximity to Bangkok, more Thai people are holidaying on that coast and many are enjoying the boating lifestyle. Over 70 per cent of visitors to the 2018 Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show were Thai and more than 50 per cent of boats berthed at Ocean Marina Yacht Club are Thai owned.

“Yachting tourism on Thailand's east coast is relatively undeveloped. Countries such as Greece, which is famous for its established charter industry, and Australia, which has a large population of domestic boat owners, outperform Thailand currently, yet neither have the tourism numbers of Thailand. Thailand expects to welcome approximately 40 million international visitors this year and Pattaya in the region of 14 million – these numbers underscore the huge potential for yachting tourism in Thailand and this is something Ocean Marina Yacht Club are focussed on developing,” added Finsten.

At this year’s Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show, up to 40 boats will be displayed by leading international boat brands and brokers. These will be complemented by a wide range of marine products and accessories, boat toys and gadgets, luxury properties, super cars and more. Live on-water demonstrations will take place over the four days as well as free yacht cruises, sunset cruises, sun downers, fashion shows, pop-up restaurants and lots of activities for all the family to enjoy.

The 8th Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show takes place November 21-24 at Southeast Asia’s largest marina, Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya. Entry is free.

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