Pattaya’s most famous street is not scheduled for knockdown according to mayor-elect Poramet Ngampichet. During a tour this week of the never-ceasing repavement and cable- burying areas, he said that Walking Street was an essential part of the resort’s tourist future.
Mr Poramet represents Rao Rak Pattaya (We Love Pattaya), the favoured political party of the outgoing mayor Sonthaya Kunplome.
There had also been suggestions that the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), a multi-billion US dollar agency of both Thai and foreign investors, might fund a wholesale “family” redevelopment of Walking Street to complement the neighboring Bali Hai port facilities which have benefitted from external funding.
Various beach reclamation projects and transport improvements, including ring roads and motorways, are also EEC projects.
However, there is a growing consensus that Pattaya must rely on traditional tourist markets after more than two years of a spellbinding, ghost town image.
The war in Ukraine and the ongoing absence of the overseas Chinese market has doubled-down on this feeling that Pattaya needs to walk before taking up running.
However, City Hall stresses that Pattaya has already progressed from its Sin City image of the last century.
There are now five star hotels and malls to rival Bangkok’s, important niche markets such as MICE (conventions, exhibitions etc) and far more family-friendly facilities.
By Barry Kenyon