Ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Hin on the other side of the Gulf of Thailand isn’t really anything new. Several private ferry operators have tackled the project again and again over the decades – and ultimately all failed miserably.
The last attempt to bridge the 113-kilometer sea route between Pattaya and Hua Hin by ferry failed only in 2011, due to lack of passengers and as unprofitable as previous projects.
Now a brand-new passenger ferry service between Pattaya and Hua Hin was officially launched on Sunday.
The new ferry service, operated by Royal Passenger Liner Ltd, launched unofficially on January 1, with free trips between the seaside resorts offered until January 31. The official launch was however postponed from January 12 after bad weather caused the cancellation of many trips.
While the latest tourist arrival statistics released by the Department of Tourism show that, only in August, the number of Chinese tourist arrivals was still on the rise year-on-year (up 11,34%) and Chinese tourists (891.382 nationwide) still accounted for nearly one third (31.01%) of all tourist arrivals in August, business operators in Pattaya are now reporting a sharp drop in arrivals from China.
Due to the government’s ongoing crackdown on so-called “zero-dollar tours”, tourism industry representatives are now complaining that the number of Chinese visitors to Pattaya has recently dropped by approx. 50% and hotel bookings have fallen drastically during the Chinese national holiday (October 1-9).
In the name of national security (what else?), Thailand now plans to issue foreign visitors to the kingdom with special SIM cards that would allow authorities to easily track them.
According to the controversial proposal, all foreign tourists
and expats would be required to use a new style of SIM cards which would allow the authorities to track the card owner’s location at any time.
Yes, Big Brother wants to watch you in Thailand, too!