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Protests in Bangkok – the View from Pattaya

12 February 2014

With the latest protests in Bangkok focusing the international spotlight on Thailand, we asked three prominent foreign nationals in Pattaya how their sectors were affected by the current situation.

Mike Walton, Principal of Regents International School Pattaya

Mike Walton has been Principal at Regents for the past decade, leading the school as the country went through similar phases of disruption. In terms of the wellbeing of his students, Mike remains alert but unperturbed by the current situation. “Having been in charge of Regents during both the coup of 2006 and subsequent political disturbances, when the violence in Bangkok at no point materialised in and around Pattaya, I do not expect there to be any local problems this time around. We’ve taken the sensible precaution of cancelling weekend leisure trips to Bangkok for the boarders, but otherwise we’ve not felt the need to make any changes.”

“In terms of pupil numbers, the school is almost 10% up on the same point last year and at the beginning of January we experienced a greater-than-normal intake of ex-pat children whose parents have only just relocated to work on the industrial estates of the Eastern Seaboard. This suggests to me that parents share my view, that it’s business as usual in Pattaya, Chonburi and Rayong.”

Roger Karlsson, CEO of A+ Property

Mike’s view of the education sector is echoed for the property sector by Roger Karlsson, CEO of A+ Property. “A+ Properties has recently seen a small increase in enquiries for condo and house purchases, especially from those living in Bangkok. Many Bangkok residents are looking towards Pattaya for property investments, in part because we’re distant from the city’s protests and in part because we’re on the better side for reaching Suvarnabhumi Airport. There are no signs of a downturn ahead as far as I’m concerned.”

Brendan Daly, General Manager of the Amari Orchid Pattaya

Tourism to Pattaya, on the other hand, seems to be faring less well at the hands of the Bangkok protests. General Manager of the Amari Orchid Pattaya, Brendan Daly, noted that business was not as strong for the month of January as he had forecast and predicted further dips the longer the protests in Bangkok continued. “In the short term we have been able to replace some of our lost overseas business with some domestic leisure, as guests want to take a break from Bangkok and we remain a safe and easily accessible location. We have also benefited from some conferences relocating confirmed events from Bangkok to Pattaya. However these are only short term and we will see our business patterns continue to decline the longer the situation carries on. The Corporate segment is tracking well and seems to be business as usual.”