The new PM’s in town, largely unannounced. But that hasn’t stopped the island’s loudest voices from chirping some of their main issues while he’s here. Including the enforcement of closing times in Patong’s Bangla walking street.
In a bid to redefine the after-dark landscape of Patong Beach’s infamous Bangla Road and adjacent streets, local night entertainment stakeholders have tabled a proposal to the visiting PM Srettha Thavisin to consider allowing their establishments to remain open until 4 am. Currently the official closing time is 1 am although there are hundreds of establishments around the island that ignore, or pay officials to ignore, the 1 am ‘lights out’ time.
Weerawit Kruasombat, from the entertainment business operators association on Patong Beach, says that the proposition was formally presented during a meeting yesterday.
Prime Minister Srettha has been in direct dialogues with key figures within the tourism sector, both in Phuket yesterday and Phang Nga today.
The new PM promised to have a look at the issue but said, ultimately, it would be up to local provincial officials to adjudicate in the matter.
Meanwhile, local entertainment entrepreneur and business operator, Prab Keesin voiced his concerns over the existing 1 am curfew. He said it was impractical, particularly for the international tourists who patronise the entertainment zone during the evening. Khan Prab said that limiting the operating hours also limited their visitors’ experience and the chance for locals to profit from their visits.
Prab proposed a pilot initiative which would extend operating hours until 4 am along a section of the beach. A six-month trial, timed to coincide with this year’s high season, would allow a proper assessment of the extended opening hours, including things like security, affect on the local residents, economic shifts, safety and environmental considerations.