The Airport Rail Link will be extended to connect Suvarnabhumi airport with Don Mueang airport and U-Tapao airport in Rayong, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong has said.
ACM Prajin Juntong said the Airport Rail Link, which connects Suvarnabhumi
airport and Bangkok's inner district of Phaya Thai, would be extended to Don Mueang airport in northern Bangkok and to U-Tapao airport in the eastern province of Rayong, near Pattaya.
For the 190km extension to U-Tapao, which is now rated an
international airport, the minister said transport authorities would have to discuss it with the Royal Thai Navy, which supervises the airport. He expected the talks to be concluded in the second half of next year.
The route for the Airport Link
to U-Tapao would also have to be finalised, and a decision made whether it should start from Suvarnabhumi, Makkasan or Lat Krabang area of Bangkok. Six stations were planned along the route and their locations would have to be decided, the minister said.
These would be Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Si Racha, Pattaya, U-Tapao and Rayong stations.
The Bangkok Post has published an article claiming that Pattaya officials are racing to clean up the resort's beaches and vice spots to try to shake off the sin city tag and prevent the military stepping in as they have done in Phuket and Hua Hin.
First among the targets of city officials and the new police chief are chair renters on the beach and street-walking prostitutes. Lady boy sex workers claim they have already been targeted in a wave of police crackdowns.
Pol Col Suppatee
Boonkrong, deputy commander of Chon Buri Provincial Police, who took over as acting head of Pattaya City Police on June 3 in the wake of the coup, said he was aiming to eradicate all prostitution:
I want to completely
change the image of Pattaya from being sin city to a friendly town that everyone can enjoy., Safety is our number one concern and that is what we are trying to bring back to the town.
He conceded that there weren't enough police
officers to tackle street prostitution so they were being assisted by police volunteers in night-time sweeps. Typically, they were sending out groups of two to four police accompanied by four to eight volunteers in vans and trucks. The volunteers have no
arrest powers, but can help compile evidence by taking videos, Pol Col Suppattee said.
Pattaya City deputy mayor Ronakit Ekasingh said they were trying to keep things under control to prevent the National Council for Peace and Order taking over
the situation as they did in Phuket and Hua Hin .
As the Midnight curfew came into effect, early on Sunday Morning, The Royal Thai Navy, with assistance from Pattaya Police and District Officials, formed a checkpoint in Central Pattaya to check those who were on the streets after the curfew.
Checkpoint on the Sukhumvit Road featured heavily-armed Navy personnel who were assisted in searching vehicles and individuals by Pattaya Police and District Officials. Traffic came to a standstill on the main highway as every vehicle was checked along
with its occupants.
Items of concern, including knives, ammunition and other illegal items were found and those accused of being in possession of such items were detained and handed over to the Police, by the Navy, for further legal procedures.
A Navy spokesman said that those who fail to comply with the midnight to 4am curfew will be subject to stricter enforcement by the Police from now on.
Pattaya's beach is to be widened to about 35 metres to prevent erosion and boost income from tourists.
Pattaya City's sand-fill project is expected to begin in October and will take around two years, said mayor Itthiphol Kunplome. To extend the
three-km beachfront to the eventual 35-metre width, will take 36,000 cubic metres of sand at a cost of Bt430 million. The first 15 metres of the new beach would involve a sandbag wall to serve as an embankment, while the remaining 20 metres would be of
sand. The new beachfront will stretch for 2.7-km and cover around 60 rai, stretching from North, Central to South Pattaya beaches, Itthiphol said.
When completed, the beach extension project is expected to revamp the image of Pattaya as a resort
town with clean beaches and white sand, making it more attractive and have the potential of attracting 10 million tourists, as projected in the Asean Economic Community in 2015, Itthiphol said.
The number of tourists, both local and foreign, visiting Pattaya is now projected to drop to 7.5 million this year from 9 million last year because of the prolonged political turmoil.
Tourism revenue in the city is forecast to decline to Bt70 billion
this year from Bt85 billion in 2013.
Before the troubles numbers were forecast to match last year's tourist numbers, but the escalating political scenario led to the downward revision. The affacted quarter has seen a loss of 30% in arrivals from
3.5 million a year ago and 30% in cent in tourism revenue from Bt35 billion.
Pattaya has suffered from the political tension in Bangkok because the resort city is combined in tour packages for foreigners with the capital. Many foreigners chose a
tour coupling sightseeing at the Grand Palace in Bangkok before heading to Pattaya to relax with sunbathing or sea activities or maybe take in a little nightlife. This group has disappeared, especially from China.
During Chinese New Year, for
example, inbound operators expected to receive 300 tour groups from China, but handled only 60. The major problem was that they were worried about travel insurance, which does not cover political chaos.