Pattaya show supports sailing craze

PATTAYA, 5 September 2018: Thailand’s east coast has seen steady growth in leisure sailing in recent years, bolstered by domestic interest in chartering and buying yachts and motor craft.

Supporting the Gulf of Thailand’s emerging leisure boat business, the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show, will take place for the seventh time, 29 November to 2 December, at Pattaya’s Ocean Marina Yacht Club.

The increase in people who enjoy sailing is borne out in Ocean Marina Yacht Club’s research, which shows a staggering 730% increase in the day trippers departing the marina between 2010 and 2017. In Q1 2018 alone, the figure grew 66% when compared to the same period in the previous year.

Join-in boat trips range from THB2,000 per person for a full-inclusive day experience, while private charters range from THB25,000 for a half-day up to THB700,000 to charter a superyacht for the day. The most popular private charters departing Ocean Marina Yacht Club are in the range of THB50,000 to THB100,000 per day.

Thailand residents are driving this growth of join-in and private charters on the east coast with millennials and gen X together making up 60% of Thais experiencing boating today.

“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 charters, while we have certainly seen Thais outpacing other nationalities in boat ownership over the last few years,” said Ocean Marina Yacht Club harbour master Scott Finsten.

“Since the first Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show in 2012, private boat ownership in the marina has grown by 15% and this is largely thanks to interest from the local market.

“More than 45% of all boats in our marina are Thai-owned, which is a healthy indicator of steady growth in marine tourism in this part of Thailand. We also see strong domestic interest in boating at the Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show where 70% of visitors last year were Thai nationals.”

On the back of charter growth and increased boat purchases, Ocean Marina Yacht Club completed a major expansion in August, which increased berths by 15% to 455.

The company claims the marina is the largest in Southeast Asia based on a count of wet berths (berths in the marina).

“Thai people taking an interest in boating… may start by joining a day trip or chartering a boat, but that can lead to boat ownership. Over recent years at Boat Lagoon Yachting we have seen a significant interest in boat purchase by Thais as they become more aware and knowledgeable about the boating lifestyle, and we expect this trend to continue,” said Boat Lagoon Yachting managing director, Vrit Yongsakul.

Travel trends indicate a strong a growth in marine tourism as visitors seek out more individual experiences, when visiting Thailand.

The top five international visitors to Pattaya come from China, Russia, Korea, India and Germany. With reference to the China travel, the ITB World Travel Trends Report 2017/18, shows millennials comprise 60% of all Chinese travelling overseas. Millennials are looking for new travel experiences, to enjoy something off-the-beaten-path and boating on Thailand’s east coast has become popular with this segment.

In addition, the easing of customs rules in 2016 has helped make Thailand more attractive to international visiting yachts. This, together with the growth in millennial travel, increased domestic interest in boating, the “Thailand Riviera” project and the Eastern Economic Corridor – which has seen THB45 billion in investment pledged by the Thai government – are expected to further the appeal of Thailand’s East Coast for both business and leisure.

The 7th Ocean Marina Pattaya Boat Show takes place 29 November to 2December at Ocean Marina Yacht Club in Pattaya. Entry is free.