The government’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project and the expansion of U-tapao airport could provide a needed boost to the region’s hotel sector, according to experts. Both tourism and the hotel business can expect to see significant gains in the coming years as EEC megaprojects and further expansion of U-tapao airport are completed.
“The airport will help immensely because of its proximity to Pattaya versus Suvarnabhumi airport. The EEC’s 5-year plan will enhance accessibility to Pattaya and the surrounding region, creating a major economic and leisure zone,” says Somsak Tanruegnsri, General Manager of Avani Pattaya Resort and Spa, to the Bangkok Post.
Some developers are already preparing for this increase in activity and a new Renaissance Hotel, a new building at Amari, Centre Point, and Terminal 21 shopping centre are already under construction in Pattaya. Several smaller independent hotels are also in the pipeline.
U-tapao airport opened to passenger travel in 2016 which helped increased direct connections between Pattaya and major global cities including ones in Malaysia and China. Construction will begin on a new runway in 2018 that will be able to handle larger airplanes and open up the possibility of more connections.
“When the EEC takes shape, I do believe that more business travellers will flood into the Eastern Seaboard, while airlines will carry more tourists into Pattaya,” says Neoh Kean Boon, General Manager of Dusit Thani Pattaya.
Avani Pattaya Resort and Spa was one of the hotels in the region to undergo a renovation. The project cost more than THB170 million and allowed the property to rebrand and reposition itself under the Avani name. It has been operating under the Marriott chain previously. With more visitors coming to the Eastern Seaboard, the hotel wanted to be able to accommodate these guests.
“The growth of the automotive industry with factories going up in and around Rayong province is very important to us. U-tapao airport is expanding in this area. This potentially could produce additional businesses and we also have regular sales blitzes in the area,” says Somsak.
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