Pattaya tourism up 15 percent from last year
Pattaya saw 8 million tourists visit in the first half of this year, putting it on course to top last year’s total of 13.7 million visitors. Tourist spending in the first half was also up compared to the same period last year, more than 15 percent higher than the first half of 2016 at 110 billion baht, in 2016 total spending was 200 billion baht. The TAT Pattaya office director said that Pattaya is the most popular destination for Chinese tourists. Last year foreigners accounted for 65 percent of all tourists while locals were about 35 percent. There were 2.54 million Chinese tourists followed by 800,000 Russians, 600,000 Koreans, 400,000 Indians and 400,000 Germans. New transport connections including the ferry connecting Pattaya to Cha-am on the East Coast and increased connections at U-Tapao should increase tourism to Pattaya the director reported.
A new excise tax that went into effect over the weekend is expected to add 12 billion baht in tax revenues according to the Excise Department. The taxes, which are being newly levied on sweet drinks like green, will also increase prices on wine, beer and cigarettes. Locally made cigarettes are seeing the biggest tax increase, with lower priced cigarettes seeing a 4-15 baht a pack added to the price of cigarettes previously costing 60 baht a pack or less. Higher-priced brands will increase by 2-14 baht a pack. Imported wine costing less than 1000 baht will have 110 baht added on to the price, while beer bottles will go up 2.66 baht. Imported liquor and expensive beers will actually drop with imported luxury liquor seeing reductions from 3 to 26 baht and expensive beers dropping 0.99 baht to 2.05 baht per bottle. Imported liquor prices will be 0.80 to 3.50 baht higher depending on degree of alcohol content and wine costing more than 1,000 baht will go up 25 baht per bottle. The Excise Department insisted that officials will take legal action against manufacturers and importers who paid old tax rate for their goods but sell them at new price.
New businesses registered at the Ministry of Commerce shot up 20 percent year on year in August. According the Department of Business Development, the highest rate in four years was driven by y massive government investment in infrastructure, hefty exports and the growing tourism industry. New business registrations in August reached 7,159 companies with a total registered capital of 47.35 billion baht. The top five businesses registered were construction, property, restaurants, logistics, and management consultancy. In the first 8 months of the year 49,080 new businesses were registered, up 14 percent year on year, with a total registered capital of 232.89 billion baht, a 44 percent increase from the same period last year. The DBD predicts new business registrations will increase by 7 percent for the entire year, up from their previous forecast of 5 percent.