A B7.4-billion Investment Opportunity
The Marine Department of Thailand has proposed a plan to construct a 7.4-billion-baht cruise port in Pattaya, which would be the first dedicated cruise port in the nation. The project is intended to accommodate two large-sized cruise liners simultaneously. The new cabinet will need to approve this plan for it to proceed.
Construction Timeline and Location
If approved, construction of the port is set to begin in 2026 near the Bali Hai pier and is estimated to be completed by 2029. Wanchai Butthongdi, the director of the department’s engineering division, shared this information during a recent announcement.
Comparisons to Existing Ports
Currently, cruise ships dock at Bangkok and Laem Chabang ports, which primarily serve as container terminals. As a result, these ports do not offer the amenities and conveniences found at a dedicated cruise terminal. The proposed Pattaya port would be specialized to serve the needs of large cruise ships. Similar projects are also being considered in Koh Samui and Krabi.
Rising Cruise Tourism in Asia
With the global demand for cruise tourism on the rise, Asia and Thailand have become top destinations for cruise travelers. The new Pattaya port aims to cater to this increasing demand and offer a superior experience to cruising tourists.
Public-Private Partnership Model
The port will be built under a public-private partnership model. The government would be responsible for constructing the physical port, a one-kilometer jetty, and additional offshore and onshore infrastructure. This includes the terminal, a bridge connecting the port, and a car park, totaling an investment of 5.5 billion baht.
The private sector will manage operations and maintenance, including utilities and equipment worth approximately 1.9 billion baht. The private partner will be granted a 30-year concession to operate and manage the port. With a 20% annual return on investment, the concessionaire is expected to break even in 10 years.
Interest from Hong Kong and Singapore
Several cruise line operators and related businesses from Hong Kong and Singapore have expressed interest in the project, according to Wanchai.
Passenger Capacity and Connectivity
The new port is designed to handle up to 1,500 cruise passengers per hour when serving as a home port or between 3,500 and 4,000 passengers per hour when functioning as a port of call. The port will also be connected to tourist destinations in Pattaya, Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and Samut Prakan, as well as nearby islands through speedboat and ferry services.