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Push to open Thailand’s nightlife venues longer – push to close them down early

Thailand bars
Debate over Thailand's bars and nightlife closing times

There’s a tug of war in Thai government circles at the moment over opening times for entertainment venues around the country, particularly in hot tourist zones.

A letter has been forwarded to the Thai prime minister requesting a legal extension to opening hours at their venues until 4am. The entertainment and alcohol industries are also requesting a cancellation to the long held alcohol ban on sales between 2 – 5pm.

President of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association officially filed the request this week at the Government House. Kemmigar Rattanakun says the request is only for Thailand’s well known tourist zones, including Patong in Phuket, Khao Lak in Phang Nga, Chaweng Beach in Samui, Pattaya, and Khao San Road and Soi Cowboy in Bangkok.

“Current heavy handed enforcement of earlier times is hurting tourism and these businesses. International tourists in particular do not like going home at midnight or 2am.”

Kemmigar Rattanakun told The Pattaya News “…outside these zones we need to be allowed to sell alcohol until 2am… we are only allowed until midnight”.

Addressing the ban of alcohol sales between 2 – 5pm, the spokesperson said the ban needs to be “reconsidered”, claiming that the ban “doesn’t solve social problems or prevent accidents”.

Meanwhile Thailand’s Energy Ministry has proposed that the very same venues, along with shopping centres and other late evening venues, are forced to turn the lights out earlier to prevent further demands on Thailand’s rising cost of electricity production.

The worldwide spiralling costs on energy, including Liquid Petroleum Gas, is now causing both price increases and potential shortages of power in Thailand. The Ministry is concerned, that as Europe and the northern hemisphere enter winter, putting additional demands on the supplies of LPG, that Thailand will have to respond and has proposed power restrictions.

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