Pattaya Cruise Port: A New Era of Thai Cruise Tourism

cruise tourism pattaya cruise port

A New Cruise Port for Thailand

The Marine Department of Thailand plans to seek cabinet approval for constructing a port specifically designed for large-sized cruise liners near the Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya. This 7.4-billion-baht project, if approved, will begin construction in 2026 and be completed by 2029. Wanchai Butthongdi, the director of the department’s engineering division, stated that this port will be the first of its kind in Thailand dedicated to serving large cruise ships.

Currently, cruise ships dock at Bangkok and Laem Chabang ports which are actually container terminals. As a result, these ports lack the convenience and facilities that a proper cruise terminal would offer.

Expanding Cruise Tourism in Thailand

With the rising global demand for cruise tourism, Asia and Thailand have become popular destinations for cruise travelers. To further capitalize on this trend, similar projects are being considered for Koh Samui and Krabi, according to Mr. Wanchai.

The Pattaya cruise port will be built under a public-private partnership model. The government will be responsible for constructing the port and a one-kilometer jetty capable of serving two cruise ships simultaneously. A private partner will be given a 30-year concession to operate and manage the port, with an estimated 7.41 billion baht construction cost. Factoring in a 20% annual return on investment, the concessionaire is expected to break even within 10 years.

Several cruise line operators and related businesses from Hong Kong and Singapore have expressed interest in the project, says Mr. Wanchai.

Capacity and Connectivity of the New Port

The new Pattaya cruise port will have the capacity to handle up to 1,500 passengers per hour when used as a home port, or 3,500 to 4,000 passengers per hour as a port of call. This will significantly enhance the existing cruise ship infrastructure in Thailand.

Additionally, the port will be connected to various tourist destinations around Pattaya, as well as in Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and Samut Prakan. Speedboat and ferry services will also be available to serve nearby islands, further boosting tourism in the region.

Impact on Tourism and Local Economy

The Pattaya cruise port is expected to not only attract more cruise tourists to Thailand but also contribute to the growth of the local economy. With increased tourist arrivals, the hospitality, transportation, and tourism service sectors are likely to see significant benefits. The project also has the potential to create job opportunities in the area, leading to overall economic development.

With its strategic location and planned facilities, the Pattaya cruise port is poised to play a vital role in the expansion of Thailand’s cruise tourism industry.