Thailand’s east coast has seen steady growth in the boating sector in recent years, bolstered by domestic interest as well as a growth in marine tourism, according to a press release plugging the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show.
Based on Ocean Marina Yacht Club’s own research, there was a staggering 730 per cent increase in the number of day trippers departing the venue between 2010 and 2017. In 1Q2018 alone, this figure grew by 66 per cent when compared to the same period in the previous year.
This growth of join-in and private charters on the east coast is being driven in large part by Thais, with millennials and Gen-X together making up 60 per cent of Thais experiencing boating today, and weekends being the most popular time to head out on the water.
Travel trends have also contributed to a growth in marine tourism as visitors seek out more individual experiences, according to the press release, which cited the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2017/2018 that showed China, Russia, South Korea, India and Germany in top five international visitors to Pattaya.
In addition, changes to customs rules in 2016 has helped make Thailand more attractive to international visiting yachts, further contributing to overall growth in water-based activities in coastal destinations.
This, together with the growth in millennial travel, increased domestic interest in boating, the Thailand Riviera project and Eastern Economic Corridor – which has seen 45 billion baht (US$1.4 million) of investment pledged by the Thai government – are expected to further the appeal of Thailand’s east coast for both business and leisure.
“The increase in day trips and boat charters on the east coast has naturally led to more conversions into boat ownership. In terms of nationality, Thais are now the third largest enjoying day trips and charter, while we have certainly seen Thais outpacing other nationalities in boat ownership over the last few years,” said Scott Finsten, harbour master of Ocean Marina Yacht Club, organisers of the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show.
He added that domestic interest in boating has been strong at the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show, where 70 per cent of visitors last year were Thai nationals.
The seventh edition of the event is set to take place from November 29 to December 2, 2018 at the Ocean Marina Yacht Club.
On the back of charter growth and increased boat purchases, Ocean Marina Yacht Club completed major expansion works in August 2018 which increased the number of berths by 15 per cent to 455, retaining its position as the largest marina in South-east Asia.