The Thai Marine Department is set to propose to the Cabinet to establish the country’s first large-scale international yacht/cruise ship port in Pattaya, worth over 7.4 billion baht.
The mega-project, which will be located near the Bali Hai pier if approved, aims to benefit from the growing popularity of yacht tourism, with over 31.5 million tourists travelling by yachts and cruise ships globally this year and is expected to reach 36 million by 2024, according to Mr. Wannachai Butthongdee, Director of Engineering Division of the Marine Department.
The construction will expectedly begin in 2026 and finish in 2029 if approved by the Cabinet.
Mr. Wannachai added that Thailand is ranked third as the most popular destination in Asia in terms of the number of visits by large luxury yachts. The new port in Pattaya will be located approximately 1 kilometer away from the coastline and will have the capacity to accommodate two luxury cruise ships simultaneously.
“Thailand has been welcoming an average of 500 luxury yacht trips per year. The majority of these yachts are can accommodate approximately 1,000 passengers,” Mr. Wannachai said. “As for large luxury cruise ships, they require temporary anchoring methods and smaller boats to transport passengers to the shore, which is not convenient for travel.”
In light of this, the Marine Department is planning to develop cruise ports in other areas as well including Koh Samui in Surat Thani province, and Krabi province.
The new port will be able to handle up to 1,500 cruise passengers per hour when it is used as a home port, or between 3,500 and 4,000 passengers per hour when it serves as a port of call, Mr. Wannachai stated.
He further emphasized that while Bangkok Port and Laem Chabang Port have the potential to accommodate luxury cruise ships, they primarily serve as cargo ports rather than dedicated tourism ports. Therefore, they are not convenient for accommodating tourists and lack supporting facilities such as passenger terminals and other amenities.
The port in Pattaya will cost approximately 7.4 billion baht under a public-private partnership model, and it will be linked to popular tourist destinations in Bangkok, Ayutthaya, and Samut Prakan as well, Mr. Wannachai said.
The proposal will likely go to the new Thai Cabinet by the still transitioning Thai government, notes TPN.