More than 300 parliamentarians from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will convene at the Royal Cliff Beach Resort Hotel in Pattaya on August 2-8, 2009 for the 30th ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA).

Organized by the Thai parliament, the assembly will be attended by ASEAN parliament presidents and parliamentarians from eight member countries and observers and special guests from 12 countries.

According to Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa, deputy governor for marketing communications of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the meeting will go a long way towards re-establishing the confidence of meeting planners and conference organizers in Pattaya since the political disturbances that disrupted a previous ASEAN meeting last April.

“The Pattaya tourism industry and all the security and provincial government authorities have gone out of their way to ensure a smooth assembly,” said Mrs. Juthaporn Rerngronasa. “The fact that it is being held in Thailand’s most popular beach resort is itself an indication that everything is perfectly normal and that it’s back to business as usual.”

The ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Organization or AIPO was set up on September 2, 1977 and transformed itself into an assembly in 2007, with an accompanying name-change to the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly or AIPA.

Mr. Chai Chidchob, president of the Thai Parliament and AIPA, said this year’s meeting was particularly important because it was the first since the signing of the ASEAN charter in March 2009 at the ASEAN summit in Hua Hin.

“As elected representatives of the ASEAN people, AIPA members are ready to extend their full cooperation to the ASEAN leaders and secretariat to attain the objectives of a single ASEAN community by 2015,” Mr. Chai said.

The official opening of the 30th AIPA General Assembly will be held on August 4, 2009 at 0900 hours by Thai Prime Minister Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva.

One of the highlights of this year’s AIPA will be the formal admission of Brunei Darussalam as a full member of AIPA. The ASEAN parliamentarians have also been granted an audience by His Majesty the King. The closing ceremony will be held on August 6 at 1045 hours, followed by a press conference.

The organizing committee has also arranged to take delegates and accompanying delegates to visit various tourist attractions in Pattaya.

The first beach resort to attract international visitors, Pattaya has grown over the last three decades from a small fishing village into a world famous resort.

Located about 130 kms southeast of Bangkok, Pattaya is now comfortably accessible by two modern motorways in about 90 minutes. It boasts a world-class convention center, a wide range of accommodation options, over 300 restaurants, three large modern shopping malls, and a broad range of activities from water sports to go-kart racing.

The surrounding area provides numerous opportunities for visits to temples, orchid plantations, elephant camps, cultural shows, sapphire mines, waterfalls, and offshore islands. Twelve golf courses, including some of the best in Thailand, are all within a short drive from Pattaya.

In 2007, visitor arrivals to Pattaya totalled 6.68 million, an increase of 9.25 percent over 2006. Visitors had an average length of stay 3.13 days and an average daily expenditure per person 2,977.38 baht; generated tourism revenue 59,347.61 million baht.