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Thai government says public hearings needed before nightlife extension

Flickr/shankar s

It seems the question of whether or not to extend nightlife operating hours in popular tourism areas hasn’t been put to bed yet. The Interior Ministry, headed up by former health minister Anutin Charnvirakul, says public hearings and regulatory amendments will be needed before any extended hours can be approved.

Meanwhile, it’s already been widely announced that closing times will be officially extended to 4am in some zones in Bangkok, Phuket, Chon Buri (code for Pattaya) and Chiang Mai.

The PM retta Thavisin hopes the measure will boost the local economies and the tourism sector, which is still recovering from the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Anutin, the government is hopeful the new operating hours can take effect from December 15, which is the peak tourism season. Having stirred up a sea of confusion with his recent comments that the new hours would not apply to alcohol sales, Anutin now admits the relevant regulation may need to be amended to allow for the sale of alcohol during extended operating hours.

The Bangkok Post reports that the Interior Minister has also pointed out the need for public hearings, in order to hear the views of all those concerned.

Meanwhile, the president of the Khao San Road Businesses Association has joined the chorus of voices against the suggestion that extended hours might not apply to the sale of alcohol. Sanga Ruengwattanakul says this wouldn’t make sense and would defeat the objective of encouraging tourists to spend more.

Sanga points out that, unlike Thais who normally order one bottle of spirits to last until closing time, foreign tourists tend to order individual drinks, one at a time, throughout the night. But he may have more to complain about now that the Bangkok Governor has said the extended hours will only include Patpong and Silom, Ratchadapisek, Royal Avenue and New Phetchaburi Road. Not Khao San Road.

On the other side of the fence is Pheu Thai MP Chalerm Ubumrung, who opposes extending operating hours for nightlife venues. Chalerm claims tourists don’t come to Thailand for the nightlife, but rather for its natural beauty, historic sites, and cuisine, adding that they can find nightlife in their own countries.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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