Most Khao San bar, restaurant owners support 4am closing: tourism minister
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn visited Khao San Road in Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon district on Wednesday under a plan to allow restaurants and entertainment venues in selected tourism zones to stay open until 4am.
The ministry is eyeing the famous Khao San Road as a pilot area for the move, which aims to boost tourism and help local entrepreneurs get back on their feet amid an economic downturn.
Phiphat said he had a chat with owners of restaurants and night spots on Khao San Road and most supported the 4am closing instead of the present 2am.
The ministry is working with authorities to draft regulations to control any noise so that these businesses don’t become a nuisance to surrounding communities, he said.
“For those who are still opposed to the idea, we insist the 4am closing will be allowed only on weekends [Friday, Saturday, Sunday] in selected zones, especially those with foreign tourists who make up 70 per cent of overall visitors,” said Phiphat.
“The ministry has considered all factors and is confident the move will have more pros than cons, especially for local tourism businesses trying to reopen after Covid-19 shutdowns.”
The ministry will ask the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration by September for the go-ahead, and hopes the extended opening hours would come into effect in the last quarter of the year, in time for the high season, Phiphat said.
The 4am closing is expected to be implemented in eight tourism cities, namely Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Phang-nga, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai.
The Centre for Alcohol Studies (CAS) is openly opposing the idea, going as far as to state that extending Thailand’s pub hours to 4am would cause “carnage”.
CAS deputy manager Surasak Chaiyasong said last week that statistics from Australia showed that extending bar hours had led to increased drinking and road accidents. Longer sale hours in Iceland also led to a rise in emergency-ward patients, injuries, quarrels, physical assaults and drink-driving, Surasak added.