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Breaking News: Curfew lifted in Phuket

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PHUKET: The National Council for Peace and Order today lifted the curfew in Pattaya, Samui and Phuket.

The news is heralded as bringing much welcome relief to tourism businesses and nightlife venue operators in the three popular tourist destinations.

Phuket Governor Maitri Inthusut paid a visit to Phuket’s premier party town last night to personally receive a formal request from Patong nightlife venue operators for the curfew to be lifted, and assure them that progress was being made to further relax the curfew. (story here).

The governor’s visit staved off a mass rally planned by the nightlife operators and their staff to file a formal request at Phuket Provincial Hall calling for the curfew to be repealed (story here).

The declaration of martial law and the ensuing coup two days later, coupled with the introduction of a nightly curfew the same day, have delivered a triple-blow to Phuket’s tourism industry.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry reported that the number of tourist arrivals had dropped by as much as 20 per cent since martial law was declared on May 20 (story here).

TAT Phuket Director Anoma Wongyai on Friday told the Phuket Gazette, “Booking cancellation rates are up about 10 per cent compared to the same period last year.”

That dour report followed Weerawit Krueasombut, president of the Patong Entertainment Business Association, warning of Patong’s ruin if the curfew continued.

Mr Weerawit estimated that the initial curfew hours cost the town 10 million baht in trade each night (story here).

The revised curfew hours from midnight to 4am, repealed in Phuket as of today, still cost Patong nightlife operators an estimated 5 million baht a night, he said.

The lifting of the curfew in the prime tourist safe havens comes less than two weeks before the FIFA World Cup, which is expected to bring many tourists into the bars to support their home nations in the international competition.

The Gazette notes that at this stage the curfew remains in effect in Phang Nga. All people planning to drive off-island during the curfew hours must still abide by the conditions of the curfew in that province.

 

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