In Pattaya, the fight goes on to allow alcohol in restaurants and to reopen entertainment venues, at least in time for New Year’s festivities. After petitions and protests from various sectors, business groups, and tourism associations, Pattaya City Mayor Sonthaya Khunploem is again calling for nightlife businesses to be allowed to reopen in the city famous, or perhaps infamous, for its wild bar and club scene.
The mayor complained that, while 17 key tourist provinces were reopened, for some reason only 4 were allowed to serve alcohol, leading to many enraged businesses in Pattaya where the entertainment industry was a huge component of its tourism draw. Pattaya was the 19th most visited city in the world in 2019 with nearly 10 million visitors, largely credited to the nightlife there.
While Pattaya is the third most vaccinated province in Thailand, with a tourism economy that relies more heavily on entertainment venues than provinces like Phang Nga and others that are allowed to sell alcohol, they have still been left out of the list of where tourists can drink, leaving tourism high and dry in the reopening.
Nightlife and entertainment venues have been closed nationally for nearly 8 months, but former party hubs like Bangla Road in Phuket and Khao San Road in Bangkok have seemed to reopen with “restaurants” replacing bars and many temporary restaurant licenses being given to entertainment venues. The sector has received little to no financial relief from the government.
Pattaya has been launching event after event, festival after festival, to lure tourists to the area, but then forbidding them to put money into the local economy by going out for a drink at the hundreds of entertainment venues in the city. Supermarkets and convenience stores can sell alcohol, and these festivals, food courts, beaches and other public places are seeing hoards of people drinking store-bought liquor while the venues that would be profiting from these drinkers normally can only watch from their closed businesses.
The CCSA is meeting on Friday and have said that the situation in Pattaya is a major topic of discussion at this meeting. Many businesses and groups are anxiously awaiting to results of this meeting and hoping for good news to be announced. The Pattaya mayor expressed frustration and hope about the difficulting in changing the rules to allow entertainment venues to reopen.
“We have tried to request an exception multiple times from the Chonburi governor, the Chonburi Health Department, the CCSA, and the government. The decision to reopen Pattaya’s nightlife, bar and entertainment industry is not mine alone but rests with multiple agencies and departments. It is likely that entertainment venues will be allowed to open earlier around the start of December based on current feedback we have.”
SOURCE: The Pattaya News