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Cabinet approval sought for Phuket to pilot 4am closing times in Patong (again)

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Thailand’s tourism minister says he will be asking Cabinet to give the go-ahead for Phuket to pilot a closing time of 4am for nightlife in Patong. According to a Nation Thailand report, if approved, the pilot project will kick off on Patong’s Bangla Road, with nightlife allowed to remain open until 4am, in a bid to boost tourism.

Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says he would eventually like to extend the 4am closing time to other tourist destinations, including Khao San Road and Patpong Road in Bangkok, Pattaya Walking Street, Ao Nang in Krabi, Khao Lak in Phang Nga, and the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phan Ngan.

The minister says a number of public hearings still need to be held in those areas, in order to seek the views of local residents. A public hearing has already taken place in Patong, where the local community was overwhelmingly in support of the later closing time.

To back up his argument, Phiphat points to recent research from 3 Thai universities that appears to support the theory that later opening hours would generate more tourist revenue. Studies carried out by the National Institute of Development Administration, Suan Sunantha University, and Rajabhat Phuket University indicate that 25% of foreign visitors frequent nightlife venues after midnight, spending 44% more at these businesses.

The tourism minister also cites the loss of revenue from the cancellation of mandatory PCR testing and other Covid-related requirements for foreign tourists.

Phiphat points out that while Thailand had Covid-19 entry restrictions in place, international visitors were spending an average of 61,000 baht each, which included the costs of PCR testing and other related expenses. Once mandatory PCR testing was dropped, average spending by foreign tourists dropped to between 40,000 and 50,000 each.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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