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Government under pressure to lift alcohol ban, allow nightlife to resume



PHOTO: Goh Rhy Yan on Unsplash

As Thailand prepares to waive quarantine for vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries, the government is coming under pressure to ease some Covid-19 restrictions. In particular, the Bangkok Post reports on calls to allow restaurants to sell alcohol and for nightlife to resume. Countless bars and clubs remain shuttered, with many operators questioning how Thailand’s re-opening can succeed under such conditions.

Thanakorn Kuptajit from the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association says Thailand risks losing out to neighbours like Singapore and Vietnam, where foreign tourists face no restrictions on the consumption of alcohol. Thanakorn believes the economy can bounce back if the ban on restaurants selling alcohol can be lifted in time for the country’s grand re-opening.

Meanwhile, Sanga Ruangwatanakul from the Khao San Business Association is also pushing for hotels and restaurants to be allowed to sell alcohol and calling for insurance requirements for holidaymakers to be in line with other countries.

“We have to keep our competitiveness, because other countries want to draw foreign tourists in order to boost their economies faster.”

He adds that for restaurant operators in the Khao San area, 80% of their income comes from tourism, and for this reason, it’s vital to lift the ban on alcohol sales.

“If restaurant operators are not allowed to sell alcoholic drinks after the country’s re-opening, we believe that few food vendors and restaurant operators will resume their businesses and Khao San will be no different from a cemetery.”

Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi from the Thai Hotels Association has joined the growing chorus for the alcohol ban to be lifted. She says that in Western culture, food is intrinsically linked to alcohol and having a glass of wine or beer with dinner is normal. She points out that these are the people Thailand is targeting in its re-opening campaign.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Council of Thailand carried out a survey during the third quarter of this year, which shows that, out of 8 types of tourism-related businesses, nightlife venues were the only ones to experience a 100% drop in revenue compared to pre-pandemic times.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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