City hall is considering banning alcohol sales at its three-day Pattaya Countdown concert and fireworks festival at Bali Hai Pier.
City Councilman Rattanachai Sutidechanai brought up the proposal at a Dec. 17 Culture Committee meeting, attended by business leaders and others concerned about both negative impact on tourism and positive benefit for public safety.
“We are well aware that there is an existing law to prevent vendors from selling alcohol in public property, but this has been going on for many years and it never became a real big deal,” said Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn, president of the Pattaya Business & Tourism Association.
City Councilman Rattanachai Sutidechanai (center) said city hall is considering banning alcohol sales at its three-day Pattaya Countdown concert and fireworks festival at Bali Hai Pier.
An alcohol ban at the music festival will have a “massive” impact on tourism for Pattaya’s signature high-season event.
The ban would apply only to sales of booze at Bali Hai Pier and public property surrounding the Dec. 29-31 event. Alcohol would continue to be available as usual in the rest of the city.
Nonetheless, Sinchai said, most of the foreign tourists expected to attend the Countdown will hail from China or Russia and not understand why their New Year’s Eve will be a dry one.
The PBTA president did note, however, that reducing alcohol sales may lead to a decrease in drunk driving and accidents.
Rattanachai said that even if Pattaya City Hall decides to allow sales, the event still may come under a central government ban on booze at public events. No nationwide restriction had been laid out yet, he said.
If the prohibition is enacted, those caught selling spirits and beer will be subject to fines of up to 10,000 baht.
A final decision was planned for Dec. 22.