Madame Zee, the local astrologist, has delivered her predictions for the resort in the coming year. Readers should bear in mind that her crystal ball produced a mixed bag at this time last year. She was right that there would be further beach restrictions for the public in 2017 and she correctly anticipated the opening of the Sukhumvit road tunnel would be delayed until August. But she was wrong that a new central police station would be built and was slightly off-key in believing that zero-sum vacations for Chinese tourists would be ended.
China again figures prominently in the predictions for 2018. Madame Zee believes that the total number of mainland tourists will double to around four million with U-tapao playing a major role in the expansion. However, growth may be limited by the fact that the expansion of U-tapao, including a new passenger terminal, will be delayed because of health and safety concerns. None the less, budget airlines such as Nok Air and Thai Lion Air will continue with charter flights connecting the airport with a growing number of Chinese cities.
On environmental issues, Madame Zee foresees a big push by central government and the local authority to clean up the beaches. In late 2017, more rubbish than usual was washed up on Jomtien and Pattaya beaches because inland floods brought the rubbish down rivers and canals and into the sea before being swept up on-shore. By the end of 2018, according to the prediction, there will be more operational pumping stations accompanied by the appointment of a government “czar” to measure sea pollution and oversee rubbish collection in general. Ko Larn is predicted to have its own automated rubbish incinerator.
As regards the city’s rubbish collection system, there will be earnest talk about privatizing the service and even charging householders and businesses by an addition to their utility bills to ensure proper funding. Although these ideas will not actually come into being because of legal and technical problems, Pattaya’s growing problem with rubbish disposal and the growth of unofficial and unhygienic “dumps” will continue to be debated. The government will announce the end of landfill disposal sites by the end of the decade.
On immigration matters, Madame Zee predicts that there will be no progress in the move to introduce compulsory travel insurance for all tourists and full medical cover for holders of one year visas or extensions of stay. The whole subject is simply too complex. However, she does predict that the cash sum deposits required for one year extensions of stay will be raised. The new 10 year “retirement” visa will be replaced by an expansion of elite card options, according to the prediction. Thailand’s work permit regulations will be revised to cover free-lance workers and those using new technology in Thailand to sell overseas. Minor law infringements by foreigners may involve periods of community service rather than a short term of imprisonment.
Madame Zee also has predictions for the world in general. She says that international terrorism in 2018 will have to deal with new forms of threat to European and American cities, including drone attacks. Other suggestions are that China’s economy will outstrip America’s for the first time, crypto-currencies will become commonly accepted by banks, ninety percent of the world’s population will have unlimited and free data storage, cyber warfare will increase dramatically and Donald Trump will no longer be the US president. Pattaya Today does not endorse any astrological predictions.