Sunday, July 31, 2005

PEC Club. Saturday July 30, 2005 Meeting

The many attendees, who found their way to the Grand Sole Hotel, not only could choose between a continental, American breakfast or Thai brunch, but on the menu also was Yorkshire pudding this time. The Director of the TAT, for this part of the Country, was the keynote speaker, who inspired the audience to an Open Forum like question and answer format. Of course there was the “real” Open Forum, the Lucky Draw and the many activities and services in the foyer area.

Yorkshire Day! White roses on every table and on the big screen pictures were shown of landscapes, streams, villages and castles of this traditional English county. On August 1 the proud people of Yorkshire celebrate their day. As Club Sponsor Steve Dickens from Liberty Computers and Liberty Support Services is a Yorkshire native, he treated the attendees to the famous Yorkshire pudding. Steve told us about the history of this meal - meant to discourage people to eat expensive meat - and guided us through some Yorkshire traditions, attractions, customs, legends and expressions. We learned that there are connections to Dracula, a drunk from Huddersfield invented cat’s eyes to light the center of the road at night, Yorkshire has the first ever fish and chip, an underground waterfall larger than Niagara Falls and some quite aggressive ladies.

Co Founder, Vice President and Webmaster Pete Mills, today also was the stand in Master of Ceremonies. He withdrew an earlier recommendation about adding ICE to your cell phone, as it turned out to be a scam and informed us that the internet option link on the Club’s website ( now contains up to date information for the Pattaya area.

Club President Niels Colov then proudly introduced the guest speaker, Khun Chattan Kunjara Na Ayudhya, Director of Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Region 3, responsible for Chon Buri and Samut Prakan province.

He told us that TAT is a state enterprise operating under the Ministry of Tourism & Sports (soon it will be the Ministry of Tourism only). They have 22 domestic offices and 23 worldwide. He described TAT as the marketing arm of the government to sell Thailand to the tourists which is the number one source of foreign currency for the Kingdom.

Their slogan nowadays is: “happiness on earth.” He zoomed in for a while on the activities of TAT. They support private organisations in the tourism industry (like travel agencies), do public relations, advertise, design brochures, do research and collect and maintain statistics.

Khun Chattan then told what he could do for us. He can help with professional advice, suggestions and support. If you want to bring high profile groups over, he might do business with you, though he made clear that the budget is tight. He can help advertise tourist attractions or be the link between Pattaya and other fine destinations in the country. He emphasised the significance of the Pattaya Expats Club and even called us “the ambassadors for Pattaya as an international city.”

Though you have to climb the steep Pratamnak Hill to reach his office, he said that he is only a phone call away and everybody must feel free to contact him. His number is: 038- 428 750 or 427 667. TAT is open 365 days a year. He also mentioned the TAT website: and ended the presentation stating that Pattaya is a fantastic place and once people decide to come to visit, they will certainly enjoy it and more than likely return again and again.

Then the question and answer part followed, which turned out to be more of an Open Forum with Niels being the moderator. Some of the questions were out of Khun Chattan’s sphere of influence. When it comes to traffic problems, water shortage, polluted beaches and crime, City Hall, the Police or other authorities are responsible although TAT provides input on how these problems affect tourism. He promised to discuss some of these matters with these other agencies.

These were some of the many answers Khun Chattan could give though. Sometimes organisers of events change dates at the last moment, therefore it can accidentally happen that they give wrong information. He agreed that medical tourism is fast growing and the TAT ever more endorses and supports it.

He admitted that, for a long time Thailand didn’t watch their competitors closely enough, but they do now. Thailand recently dropped to 3rd place in the ranking of most successful tourist destinations in this region, behind Malaysia and market leader China. He also talked a bit about the Chinese tourists, who are an important target, but have had some bad experiences in the past and especially Pattaya is challenged to regain their trust.

There were some lively discussions about the concept of quality tourists and what must be done to attract them. Khun Chattan made clear that he believes that Pattaya, with all the things it has to offer, will grow rapidly as a family holiday resort and he strongly played down suggestions that it would make any sense to only promote the city as an “adult playground”. It was nice to hear that TAT wants to arrange some special trips for the members of the Pattaya Expats Club – like the recent visit to the OTOP Grand Sale in Bangkok - as he likes to work closely together with us “ambassadors.” Niels added that a Club trip to the elephant event in Surin will be organised. Khun Chattan definitely won the hearts of the members when he stated that the double pricing system is unfair and he does all he can to discourage it.

The meeting was wrapped up with the Weekly Free Lucky Draw. MC Pete, who did a fine job, was helped out by Board Secretary Roger Carino and Stephen Wilson, a volunteer of the Production Team, who both took care of the meeting management today. There were valuable dinners for 2 to win at Jameson’s Irish Pub at the Nova Park apartments and at Globetrotter restaurant off Soi 7, as well as sandwiches from Subway on the ground floor of Carrefour.

Never a dull moment in the foyer area as usual. There was the get together of the Ladies Group, the Immigration Counter, the Information Point, the Club Shop, the Membership Cards Desk, the stands of the sponsors and last but not least, a lot of socialising going on. It would be great to meet you next Saturday too.

Peter Visser, Press Officer & PR Coordinator for Pattaya Expats Club


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