Maiden Flydubai direct Pattaya flight arrives

Flydubai will operate seven direct flights per week between Dubai and U-Tapao

The maiden direct flight from Dubai to Pattaya by Flydubai touched down at U-Tapao Airport in Chon Buri Province on Friday night, carrying 158 passengers.

The passengers, including six bloggers, were greeted by U-Tapao Airport Director, Admiral Rapeepong Sowan, the vice mayor of Pattaya City and director of the Pattaya Office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).

According to the TAT, Flydubai will operate seven direct flights per week between Dubai and U-Tapao. Last year, 66,000 tourists from United Arab Emirates (UAE) visited Thailand, making them the 20th largest group of foreign visitors.

The TAT anticipates that about 150,000 tourists from the UAE will visit Thailand this year, which is expected to generate about 14 billion baht (US$430 million) in revenue, averaging about 90,000 baht (US$3,000) per visitor.

Despite increasing foreign arrivals on direct Pattaya flights, many eateries in Pattaya’s Walking Street are, nonetheless, complaining that they are still struggling with a low level of business. They say they are looking forward to the return of Chinese tourists, expected to bring a significant kick to the tourism industry as Chinese tour groups can finally travel to Thailand again after three years of restrictions.

Now 240 flights are forecast to arrive during the Chinese New Year period, a massive increase compared to last year when the Covid-19 pandemic decimated the travel industry.

Thailand is home to a large ethnic-Chinese population, which means that Chinese New Year is a big deal here. The holiday, also known as Lunar New Year or Spring Festival, has been celebrated in Thailand for centuries by the Chinese-Thai community. Festivals offer exciting experiences filled with dragon parades, fireworks, dance performances, and more.

Pattaya is hosting the Pattaya Chinese New Year Festival from January 20-22, at Central Pattaya Activity Lawn, Lan Pho Public Park, Na Kluea, and Walking Street.

The festival will feature lion and dragon dance performances, concerts and an exhibition on the history of the festival. Pattaya officials have been decorating many areas of the city, including Beach Road, with red lanterns.

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Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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