The demographics for the nationality of visitors that are coming to Pattaya has changed drastically over the last 6 to 12 months. If is fair to say that the majority of tourists coming to Pattaya were from Russia and therefore most, but perhaps not all, earnt their money in Russian Roubles. The last quarter of 2014 saw the Rouble fall, at it’s lowest point, to around 33 against the US dollar from around 68 to the dollar meaning that effectively goods in Pattaya more than doubled in price (for those exchanging Roubles) in around 3 months – a shock to the system to say the least.
Naturally such a significant fall has had a massive impact on Pattaya as a whole. The number of Russian visitors initially fell by around 75% but has recovered in the 2nd quarter of 2015 but the direct effect on hotels and the indirect effect on tour operators, shops, bar and restaurants has already been felt. A number of businesses have closed down as a result leaving lots of vacant premises around the city, not to mention vacant condos.
The effect has also been felt by many of the developers around the city with some projects being postponed whilst others have been cancelled altogether. This has had an impact on the resale market with a number of condos becoming ‘fire sales’ with Russian investors desparate to sell up and leave the country. This has resulted in the demand for other properties falling, again resulting in reduced values – good news for those looking to buy but bad news for others looking to sell.
To to summarise, the effect of the falling Rouble has resulted in far less visitors coming to Pattaya. This has his devalued the property market, resulted in shops and businesses closing and generally seen many other businesses struggle when prevuiously things had been booming. It is fair to say, regardless of some people’s scepticism and cynicism, that the Russian tourists would be welcomed back with open arms and would signifantly boost the local economy. Whether this happens only time will tell but there will be a lot of businesses and developers keeping their fingers crossed. If these guests are not replaced there will be a number of people worried, both Thais and foreigners alike.