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Ministry of Tourism of Thailand: it is necessary to extend the opening hours of nightclubs and restaurants at least in Phuket

The Thai Ministry of Health strongly opposes allowing the country’s entertainment establishments to operate until 4 am. In turn, the Ministry of Tourism and the local tourism sector still urge to introduce relief at least on the famous tourist street of Phuket Bangla Road.

The head of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, noted that only by extending the opening hours of bars, nightclubs, and cafes, the industry would be able to bring the revenue expected by the government into the treasury of Thailand next year. At the same time, the agency agrees to apply the innovation, not to all institutions of the country, but only to the Bangla region, which is attractive for tourists, at least as an experiment.

“Since the authorities have set a target for tourism revenue for 2023 at 80% of 2019, and we will probably only be able to host 50% of the pre-pandemic number of tourists, we should have a mechanism to increase the spending of foreign visitors. Night entertainment is the only promising opportunity to achieve this today,” Pipat Ratchakitprakarn explained.

Nevertheless, the head of the Ministry of Health Anutin Charnvirakul said that, despite the positive aspects of tourism, encouraging the drinking of strong drinks at night will worsen the epidemiological situation in the region, and at the same time add drunk drivers on the roads.

The arguments of both sides will be discussed on Thursday at a meeting of the National Committee, headed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Today, the country’s entertainment establishments can operate until 2 a.m. maximum.

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