Minister of Sports and Tourism Pipat Ratchakitprakan has floated an idea to allow entertainment establishments to legally stay open for business until 4am.
The minister said that by doing so it would be a positive impact on the economy which is experiencing one of the worst slumps in many years. He proposed his idea at the last cabinet meeting citing that there would be a jump of 25% on spending resulting in better income for the entertainment business operators.
He also stated that the extension would be allowed only in certain areas in Bangkok and other selected provinces.
He pointed out that permission would be given to operators in Silom Road and other areas in Bangkok, Patong Beach and other areas in Phuket, Ao Nang in Krabi, Pattaya and Koh Samui.
The minister stressed that these were only proposals and have not yet been approved. His ministry will get more details and conduct a feasibility study before submitting the results to the cabinet at a later date.
Meanwhile in Pattaya, Damrongkiat Pinitkarn, Secretary of the Entertainment & Tourism Association of Pattaya City and executive of Hollywood Pub Pattaya said on August 23 that this was very good news. “We are thrilled at the news and hope that it goes through. Longer business hours will mean more business and better income for us and the city. Nightlife business have been suffering for far too long.”
Damrongkiat admitted that there would be some opposition to this law, because of the risks of people drinking and driving and other concerns over safety and security of the party-goers.
He recommended that all entertainment business must abide strictly to their social responsibilities by strictly forbidding entry to youth under 20 years of age. Alcohol level tests could be conducted on customers before allowing them to drive home. If the alcohol level is higher than that is permitted by law, public transport must be summoned to drive the client home. Establishments could also provide transportation service to take customers home safely. Entertainment businesses could also provide a drop-off and pick-up points in the vicinity for public transport that will charge reasonable fares.
He said that in Pattaya, Walking Street will be considered as the first area to be get the permits, whilst others areas will also be considered. This all depends on whether they are within the designated entertainment zones, whether they are close to temples and schools and whether the areas are frequented by nightlife goers both Thai and foreign.
A brainstorming session would be held at a later date, where TAT Pattaya office and entertainment business operators would discuss the matter further. Results and recommendation of the gathering will be submitted to the Minster of Sports and Tourism for further action.