It seems Phuket’s bar and club owners, along with other relevant stakeholders, need to wait a bit longer for a decision on whether or not to extend the opening hours of Thai nightlife. There has yet to be a decision made on a proposal to extend the official closing time for nightlife venues from 2am to 4am.
We note, of course, that despite any official closing times, many nightspots routinely flout the official rules and continue serving their customers much later than 2am already.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand has previously proposed creating zones in parts of Phuket and Pattaya where nightlife businesses could continue operating until 4am. However, the proposal has yet to be approved by Cabinet and is not without its opponents.
Those who oppose extending the closing time to 4am insist it will result in more drink-driving incidents. According to a Phuket Express report, Phrommin Kantiya from the Accident Reduction Network Office says that if the closing time is extended to 4am, he believes there will be a 5 to 10-fold increase in the number of drink-driving accidents. However, according to the report, he was unable to provide any data to back up his assertion.
Phrommin says he’s also against the proposal of later opening hours as it will interfere with those who are visiting markets in the early hours of the morning, as well as those going to work, school, or the gym.
However, the TAT insists that it has carried out its owns studies that show the majority of sales at nightlife venues take place between 2am and 4am (unofficially, of course) and that foreign tourists feel the 2am closing time is too early.
In addition, nightlife operators have taken to social media to campaign for longer opening hours, pointing out that the football World Cup is currently taking place and many games are on late. Having to send customers home instead of being able to screen the game they want to see results in both disappointment for the customers and lost revenue for the business.
Nightlife operators have also dismissed claims that longer opening hours will result in an increase in drink-driving incidents. They point out that the extended hours would only apply in dedicated zones in tourist areas and that the vast majority of tourists do not drive. They add that as most tourists take taxis instead, the longer hours would mean more income for taxi and tuk-tuk drivers.
SOURCE: The Phuket Express