High spirits: Thai airports toast Buddhist holidays with alcohol sales

Image courtey of Martin Moodie/Moodie Davitt Report

The National Alcohol Beverage Policy Committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit, yesterday convened its third meeting of 2024 at the Parliament Building, to discuss the recent decision to allow alcohol sales in Thailand’s six major airports on Buddhist holidays.

The meeting saw the attendance of many key officials, including Deputy Director-General of the Department of Disease Control, Dr Adisorn Watanasak.

During the meeting, the committee discussed regulations concerning packaging and warning labels for domestically produced and imported alcoholic beverages. The new regulations must be finalised by November 27, and will subsequently be communicated to World Trade Organisation (WTO) member nations.

Deputy PM Suriya emphasised the importance of careful consideration of these regulations, noting that any impact on producers or importers should be supported by scientific and academic evidence.

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The committee also approved a revision to the Prime Minister’s Office’s proclamation on prohibited alcohol sale days. Specifically, alcohol sales will now be permitted at the six major airports operated by Airports of Thailand (AOT) on major Buddhist holidays, including Asalha Puja, Visakha Bucha, Makha Bucha, and the start and end of Buddhist Lent. This decision aims to stimulate spending and tourism revenue.

Regarding the State Railway of Thailand’s (SRT) request to allow alcohol sales at railway stations and on trains to promote domestic tourism, the committee will collaborate with the Alcohol Beverage Control Committee and the SRT to develop appropriate health and tourism measures. This includes drafting legislation to balance economic stimulation with public health impacts.

Additionally, the meeting approved the formation of a working group to explore establishing a fund for the treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with alcohol consumption problems. This fund will also support those affected by alcohol consumption, ensuring that individuals seeking treatment can access necessary services.

Suriya highlighted the Cabinet’s designation of the start of Buddhist Lent as National No Alcohol Day. This year’s campaign, organised by the Department of Disease Control, will take place on July 18 at The Mall Life Store, Ngamwongwan, Nonthaburi.

The event, themed Stop Alcohol, Stop Harm to Others aims to raise awareness among youths and women about the dangers of alcohol consumption and encourage abstinence during the three-month Buddhist Lent period, with a goal of lifelong sobriety, reported KhaoSod.

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Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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