Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin aims to extend the opening hours for pubs and bars to welcome more Tourists.
Speaking at the Thailand Economic Outlook 2024 conference held by the Nation Group on October 4th, 2023, Mr. Srettha gave a speech on Empowering the Economy through significant changes. His objective is to build confidence in foreign investors and make Thailand an even more appealing destination for international businesses.
Mr. Srettha highlighted the successful investments made by large multinationals such as Microsoft, Tesla, and Google. He emphasized that Thailand should actively target international investment as a key to economic growth and work towards aligning its GDP goals.
Mr. Srettha emphasized in his role as a Thai Prime Minister that he would also eagerly be a salesman to draw foreign investors to Thailand. Thailand should represent good products in a global market with a principle of international standards. It is indeed a crucial step to build confidence in foreign investors in Thailand.
Regarding Green Energy, private sectors have already been well realized and the Thai government is ready to enhance the Green Energy protocol accordingly. However, it is necessary to consider both combustion vehicles and EV vehicles to keep green energy moving.
In domestic tourism aspects, many rules and restrictions on opening and closing hours for entertainment districts would be reconsidered and lifted according to local measures and foreign tourists. The Prime Minister stated that a universal closing time for the entire country, technically midnight to two AM depending on zone, doesn’t make sense. He also said it was ridiculous to think that all venues were complying nationwide with the current conservative closing times, especially in tourism zones.
Prime Minister Srettha noted that foreign tourists often don’t even begin their evening until 10 or 11 PM and having venues close shortly later wasn’t a solid business decision. He stressed that the government would look at areas individually to avoid disturbing local residents sleeping but tourism dependent places like Pattaya or Phuket would likely see extended hours.
Srettha also stated that allowing 24/7 operations probably wasn’t the right answer but extended current hours and having a hard look at entertainment zones was, and would also stop potential corruption of officials to allow venues to stay open later.
Pattaya, Phuket, and other tourism zones have been pushing for extended hours since borders fully opened after the Covid-19 crisis in 2022, but were continually turned down by the prior government due to concerns about possible security or drunken driving.
Currently, legal closing times are between midnight and 2 AM, depending on entertainment zones. Most business owners in Pattaya have shown support for a 4 AM closing time which they feel would be a better compromise and better for tourists.
There was no timeframe given, however, for the proposal of legally extending closing times. Mr. Thavisin also did not comment on if his government would also lift the 2 PM to 5 PM alcohol sales ban which tourism groups have also been pushing to cancel and remove for the past year.