Pattaya is vying with Mumbai in India and Managua in Nicaragua for the rights to host the 2026 Youth Olympic Games.
The goal is to promote the beach city in eastern Thailand as a sports city, said Pattaya mayor Sonthaya Khunpluem.
He said the Tourism and Sports Ministry and the Sport Authority of Thailand have agreed to nominate Pattaya to host the event and submitted the tender to the International Olympic Committee already.
“We are looking to develop the city to meet relevant requirements while waiting for the results of the bid,” Mr Sonthaya said.
In his view, Pattaya has the potential to host such international sporting events because of plentiful accommodation and infrastructure projects from the Eastern Economic Corridor scheme such as U-tapao airport expansion and a high-speed train.
Sports stadiums in Pattaya and Chon Buri, include the Eastern National Sports Training Center (Pattaya Sports Stadium) and the Thailand National Sports University’s stadium are equipped with standard facilities.
To prepare the city, all sectors must work together to improve environmental management and waste problems speedily, Mr Sonthaya said.
“Every day, the city produces about 460 tonnes of garbage, and this is an urgent issue,” he said.
Mr Sonthaya said Pattaya is expected to welcome about 18 million visitors this year, up from 14 million in 2018.
The number of Chinese visitors, the biggest market in Pattaya this year, will stay flat at 3 million, affected by global trade tensions and the baht’s appreciation.
Mr Sonthaya said Chinese tourists in Pattaya spent less during the Oct 1-7 Golden Week this year.
Last year, they spent an average of 1,000 yuan in Thailand, but the strong baht reduced the value to 4,500 baht from 5,000 baht. Chinese travellers are mostly middle-income groups with a limited budget, who often shift their travel plans to cheaper places.
Pinnat Charoenphol, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Pattaya office, said the number of sporting events in Chon Buri, especially in Pattaya, Bang Saen and Sattahip, is on the rise.
One of the big events is Bangsaen 42 Chon Buri Marathon 2019, scheduled for Nov 3, featuring 12,000 runners, up from 7,000 last year.
The event aims for 25,000 total visitors, with a length of stay of at least two days and one night.
According to tourism data, arrivals to Chon Buri province stood at 12.2 million through August, up 1.8% year-on-year, generating 182 billion baht, a gain of 4.9%.
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