Thailand investigates extending alcohol sales hours for tourism

Photo courtesy of MGR Online

Public Health Minister Cholnan Srikaew announced the formation of a panel by the National Alcohol Beverage Policy Committee to investigate the proposed extension of alcohol sales hours in Thailand. This decision necessitates a comprehensive review of the existing laws and regulations surrounding the sale of alcoholic beverages.

The panel’s objective is to study the potential repercussions of extended drinking hours on public health and economic growth. At present, there is a lack of sufficient data for the committee to reach a concrete decision on this matter.

The Ministry of Tourism and Sports predicts that the proposed policy change could boost the tourism sector’s revenue to 1.2 trillion baht (US$33 billion). It is estimated that food and beverage sales would contribute to one-sixth of this projected figure, approximately 200 billion baht (US$5.5 billion), reported Bangkok Post.

However, there are concerns about the potential negative outcomes of this policy. Cholnan pointed out an observed increase in accidents in the five provinces where night entertainment venues have longer operating hours. He stressed the need to determine if there is a direct correlation between these two factors. He clarified that there is no specified timeline for the completion of the study.

This decision follows the rejection of a similar proposal by a committee on alcoholic beverage controls last week. The committee cited potential adverse impacts on public health and social welfare due to longer drinking hours as the reason for their decision. Currently, the law permits the sale of alcoholic beverages between 11am-2pm and 5pm to midnight.

In response to the proposed changes, approximately 800 people from various temperance groups convened at the Ministry of Public Health to voice their opposition. Somsak Thepsutin, Deputy Prime Minister and committee chair, assured these groups that there would be no hasty decisions made on changing the policy.

Extended alcohol sales
Photo courtesy of MGR Online

The challenge facing authorities involves balancing the demands of tourism with local priorities while also addressing issues related to alcohol consumption. Thailand grapples with a high number of road accidents, with many attributed to drunk driving, as seen in incidents like the hit-and-run on Rama 4 Road where a traffic officer lost their life.

Thailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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