The Thai government is planning to make Pattaya, a popular beach resort, a world-class sports and tourism destination instead of just nightlife, according to Tourism and Sports Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul.

Pattaya is not only a well-known tourism destination among foreign travellers and expatriates, but is also developing its internal transport system and landscape.

The ministry is confident that once becoming a world-class sports and tourism destination, it will help improve Pattaya’s image from just a nightlife destination, Kobkarn was quoted by PBS television as saying.

Due to political uncertainty and the global economic downturn, foreign arrivals to Thailand dropped by 10.28 percent during the first nine months to 17.558 million, with the revenue falling by 7.55 percent to 806.613 billion THB.

Total international visitors arrived in Thailand last year totalled 26.7 million, rising 19 percent from a year earlier.

The ministry targets tourism revenue of 2 trillion THB from 25.5 million arrivals this year and 2.2 trillion THB for next year.

The World Tourism Organisation listed Thailand in the top 10 of global tourism destinations by arrivals in 2012 and 2013, with 22.4 million and 26.5 million international visitors, respectively.

The country ranked seventh in tourism revenue, hitting 33.8 billion USD and 42 billion USD in 2012 and 2013, respectively.-VNA