An aerial view shows hotels and condominiums in Pattaya City, Chon Buri province. Residential development is moving down the coast. CHAIYOS PHUPATTANAPONG
Pattaya has been a focal point for development historically. In the past decade, Pattaya's more popular areas such as Wong Amat, Phra Tamnak, Jomtien and Na Jomtien were developed heavily for the condominium market. With limited beachfront land along these beaches, developers are looking further down the coastline in areas between Bang Saray and Sattahip.
This shift in development to the south coincides with the government's plans to develop the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), which further increases the opportunity for the area's potential for future growth and expansion.
In 2018, Pattaya was the 18th most-visited city in the world, attracting 8.67 million international travellers, according to the Mastercard Global Destination Cities Index 2018. This makes the city more popular than Bali and creates a powerful focal point for the EEC region. Pattaya is well situated between Bangkok and the EEC, being only a two-hour drive from Bangkok, and is the nearest resort location from Bangkok, which means it remains an ideal location for weekend getaways.
Due to the increasing density of Pattaya, many are expanding further out from downtown Pattaya to previously overlooked beach areas such as Bang Saray. These areas are attracting rising numbers of visitors and businesses. Considering potential investment, CBRE believes there are good fundamental factors to support future growth in value of land and property around the Bang Saray and U-tapao area.
CBRE has seen new developments completed in the area to enhance both short-term vacations and long-term relocation. New hotels such as the Renaissance Pattaya have shown exceptional performance with an 80% occupancy rate. A number of other five-star branded hotels are also planned for construction in the area. Quality residential developments such as Sunplay Bangsaray and new golf courses have been developed in the area as well.
Traditional tourist spots and family activities such as wineries and Big Buddha Mountain are being supplemented with modern family attractions such as branded water parks, a theme park, golf courses and a growing selection of food and drink destinations. In addition, international schools such as Rugby and St Andrews, along with private hospitals and sport clubs, are making the area a destination for relocation, retirement and expatriate leasing. CBRE thinks the area around Na Jomtien and Bang Saray up to U-tapao will grow as an upmarket location for Pattaya, with several large-scale developments being planned.
Furthermore, the EEC has received and continues to receive heavy government investment as a hub for industry, trade, tourism and commerce. The incentives for establishing businesses, combined with the area's scenery and climate, have set a good foundation for creating strong demand for new accommodation along this stretch of coast as industry draws workers.
In recent years, the area's accessibility has been enhanced through infrastructure projects. The expansion of U-tapao airport has created a dedicated EEC air hub that welcomes international flights from key feeder markets such as China, Russia and even Britain, and considerable expansion is being planned for the future.
Other ground transport developments are making the area far more accessible than ever before. New expressway developments are set to make driving far more convenient, as commuters can bypass the busy downtown areas of Pattaya. The planned high-speed rail link connecting U-tapao with Bangkok's two airports will further streamline connectivity, creating almost seamless access throughout the EEC when it comes into service in 2023.
The combination of the growth of industry, the development of efficient transport infrastructure and the area's natural beauty and attractions gives the area high potential for future growth. CBRE sees the area growing as an upmarket hub and believes Pattaya provides many opportunities for developers to cater to rising demand in a variety of market segments, including hotels, residential homes, retirement communities and retail centres, and for investors to start looking for their own opportunities.