Patong: 100m profits with 4am curfew for venues, Chiang Mai residents oppose it

PHOTO: Patong venues say a 4am curfew would bring an extra 100 million baht, but Chiang Mai residents oppose it. (via PR Phuket)

The pressure has been mounting for the government to raise the curfew to help entertainment venues boost earnings as tourism returns to Thailand. But some residents disturbed by noise living near bars in Chiang Mai are calling for the opposite.

The Patong Entertainment Business Association estimates that extending closing hours from 2am to 4am for nightlife entertainment venues could raise profits by up to 100 million baht a month. Minister of Tourism and Sports Pipat Ratchakitprakarn has been visiting tourist nightlife hotspots – such as Patong last week, and Full Moon Party in Koh Pha Ngan last month – throwing his support behind boosting tourism with a later curfew for nightlife venues.

An official proposal is likely to go before the CCSA in October. The association’s president explains that those last two hours of the night are a peak time when carefree tourists on holiday are dropping cash and aren’t ready to go home at 2am.

“Because those hours are the peak period, extending the closing times can create quite a lot of economic value. Tourists on average spend 3,000 to 4,000 baht a night, but we are still not meeting the demand of tourists who use entertainment services. Currently, the average daily income from entertainment venues in Patong is around 20 million baht per day, and the whole month is around 600 million baht.”

He believes that number could increase to 700 million baht with a 4am curfew for clubs and similar venues. He says venues in Patong are 100% open and mostly filled with Indian tourists now, but Thailand should be preparing for increasing travellers from Europe and Russia who want to party all night.

The push for later opening times is nothing new, but the Tourism Minister believes public sentiment is behind the nightlife operators now. He suggested media conduct their surveys to gather public opinion as the research they had done shows support for a 4am curfew.

But not all people support late-night parties. Along Chang Moi Road in the Muang district of Chiang Mai, locals are calling out police inaction regarding nightlife venues opening well past curfew. They have submitted videos of venues that open as restaurants in the evenings but evolve into busy and loud party venues late into the night with live bands and DJ pumping music until morning.

The neighbourhood has been a commercial area on the city’s ancient moat that is about to be proposed as a World Heritage site. The street was never meant to have nightlife venues on it.

Locals filed complaints with the Chiang Mai Damrongtham Centre and last Wednesday police promised an end to the noise pollution at a public forum. Residents say that lasted for just two days, with police stopping by at 11pm, but leaving before the raucous party started up again.

It seems, legal or not, the financial draw of venues opening until 4am is irresistible for businesses, to the dismay of residents. But will the government officially allow it?

SOURCE: The Phuket News & Bangkok Post

Phuket News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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