Controversial Pattaya Beach Tourism Project

Two weeks ago a 116 million baht (approx £2.58 million / US$3.54 million) facelift of Pattaya Beach started, promising improved facilities including underground toilets, exercise areas and a children playground. However controversy and protests have been a common sight since the project started.

Main picture Pattaya beach front credit Dennis Sylvester Hurd on flickr

The project was due to start last year and was aimed at helping to attract more Thai tourists to the city. Now due to be completed in November 2023, that initial aim has now been criticised by some who point out that by then, foreign tourists should be the main visitors once again.

The underground toilets have been questioned in an area already susceptible to heavy flooding during rainstorms.

The day after work started it was halted by protestors after contractors began removing a number of large trees along the shoreline. The protests included members of the “red shirt” United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, who have been prominent in anti-government protests in Bangkok.

Protestors were upset at the destruction of what they called Pattayas “signature” beachfront look and the huge cost of the project, at a time when much of Thailand is struggling with the high economic impact of the pandemic.

Now more criticism has been raised for the removal of the trees which was defended at the time by assurances that new trees and shrubs would be planted. The plans have seen the removal of native Indian almond trees which will be replaced with non-native palm trees.

Protestors have said that the palm trees will not only completely change the look of the beachfront, making it look like many beaches around the world, but will need increased care as they are not suitable to the Thai climate.

Pattaya beach front prior to work starting credit Dennis Sylvester Hurd on flickr

Reports today have said that the Marine Department has ordered Pattaya City to halt the building of recreational areas on the ocean side of the footpath as it may be in in breach of the law.

The recreation areas will see three of four concrete walls built on the beach side, which would be a violation following a major refurbishment of the beach itself, which had suffered severe erosion.

Sources: Bangkok Post, The Nation Thailand & Pattaya Mail

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