While debate continues around Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s return to office, one thing has become clear: the Tourism and Sports Ministry is moving ahead with a package of measures delayed while General Prayut was suspended pending the Constitutional Court’s ruling.
One proposal will allow entertainment venues to remain open until 4am. It’s estimated that Thailand loses roughly 70 million baht (US$2 million) per day because of current restrictions. Most tourist spending goes on between 1am and 4am.
Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, tourism and sports minister, said the proposals would follow pre-pandemic practices. Projects in the pipeline include a 1 billion baht tourism stimulus scheme, dubbed the “Booster Shot,” and still requiring cabinet approval. The project aims to solve the problem of seat capacity on aircraft, with at least 1 million seats to be added during the high season, along with other bonuses for tour bus operators and hotels.
Phiphat said the matter of extending opening hours of night-time entertainment venues will be up to local administrative approvals.
Bangla Road in Patong, Phuket was selected to test the new opening hours. According to a Bangla Road study, most foreign tourists leave their hotels at 11pm to go to entertainment venues and travel for an average of 30 minutes to get there. As a result, they are extremely reluctant to head for home at 2am, closing time.
Other projects should continue seamlessly, including the fabulously unpopular 300-baht tourism fee, the promotion of Phang Nga as a low-carbon destination, and the creation of medical hubs.
Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi, president of the Thai Hotels Association, said the market needs stability as the industry recovers. If protests occur, she said, the government should need to adopt a peaceful approach and ensure no street closures, particularly in tourist areas.
“The government must manage crowds and demonstrations in an appropriate manner. If Thailand holds a general election next year, tourism should be the priority for any government because it drives the economy.”
SOURCE Bangkok Post
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