Navy, Governments Join to Promote Pattaya as Wreck Diving Destination with New Pattaya Dive Club; Sinking of New Wreck Within

From left, Royal Thai Navy Captain Chettha Jaipium, Dhorn Dhamrongsawasdi, advisor to the director of the Marine and Coastline Resources Department, Hans Ulrich, PADI Thailand Regional Manager, Niti Kongkrut, director of Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Pattaya office, Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, Serm Phenjati, consultant for DusitD2 Baraquda Pattaya and Mikamin Charujinda, director of the Marine and Coastline Resources Department.

Pattaya city officials, the Royal Thai Navy and the Tourism Authority of Thailand have joined forces to market Pattaya as a premier wreck-diving destination and with the formation of a new dive operator club and the sinking of another shipwreck within two years.

Tentatively called the Pattaya Dive Club, the association will promote all the city’s dive companies through a joint Internet website that will be advertised worldwide with funds from both the city and the dive operators.

At a Nov. 28 seminar at the DusitD2 Hotel in Pattaya, Pattaya Mayor Itthiphol Kunplome, TAT Pattaya office Director Niti Kongkrut, PADI Thailand Regional Director Hans Ulrich, Navy Capt. Chettha Jaipium and Dhorn Dhamrongsawasdi, advisor to the director of the Marine and Coastline Resources Department discussed ways to development a tourism plan to bring divers to Pattaya.

Officials agreed that while areas such as the Similan Islands offer better coral-reef diving and more wildlife, Pattaya has a unique draw in its three existing deep wrecks, the HTMS Khram and Kood and the Hardeep wreck in Samae San.

Ulrich said Kunplome and Kongkrut were especially enthusiastic about promoting wreck diving and that Navy officials discussed the possibility of sinking yet another wreck within one to two years. Much will depend, he said, on the ability of Pattaya-area dive centers to cooperatively promote and advertise the city as a destination and not just their own businesses.

Kunplome has already signed up to get his Open Water Diver certification and Kongkrut has volunteered to temporarily head the new dive club until dive operators can get together and name their own president.

Toward that end, Aquanauts Dive Centre, the area’s leader in marketing of Pattaya diving online, has already registered a number of new Internet domain names and will work with all area operators to develop an impartial website through which all participating centers can individually contribute.

Participation in the Pattaya Dive Club also requires a financial commitment toward advertising of the dive club’s website and the city. Details will be worked out in coming weeks.

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