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Operators want government to ease the rule on alcohol sales

alcohol operators pattaya one Feb 22 2024

The recent extension of entertainment venue opening hours and the liquor tax incentive has not generated the anticipated positive impact on tourism. Consequently, operators are urging the government to reconsider the limited hours for the sale of alcoholic drinks.

The alcoholic beverage control committee at the Ministry of Public Health recently declined to lift the ban on alcohol sales between 2pm and 5pm, citing concerns about public health and safety. Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, president of the Association of Chonburi Tourism Federation, advocated for the lifting of the prohibition, emphasizing that the rule frequently confuses tourists and that such constraints are not pertinent to foreign tourists on significant Buddhist calendar days or election days.

Mr. Thanet urged the government to consider alternative measures, such as allowing foreign tourists to purchase alcoholic drinks to stimulate tourism spending. He also highlighted the impact of this limitation, noting that tourists still acquire alcoholic drinks during permitted hours and store them for later use.

In response to concerns about drunk driving, Mr. Thanet emphasized that most tourists rely on public transportation and taxis, mitigating potential risks. He suggested that the government focus on strictly enforcing laws against driving under the influence of alcohol rather than imposing limitations.

Additionally, the reduction in liquor tax is expected to benefit the sales of locally produced products, as tourists often seek out local goods during their trips abroad. Mr. Thanet recommended that the government capitalize on this opportunity to promote local products and support them to compete with imported liquor by offering competitive prices and appealing designs.

Despite the extension of entertainment venue operating hours, concerns persist among residents and tourists who may not partake in drinking or nightlife entertainment. Some areas, including Pattaya Walking Street and locations along the beach where hotels and residences are situated, are affected by zoning restrictions from a 2002 regulation. Sanga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Khao San Road Business Association, emphasized the need for a new zone that would include Khaosan, a favored nightlife street among foreign tourists.

By extending operating hours through zoning regulations, it becomes easier for law enforcement to regulate tourists and manage potential issues related to intoxicated patrons. Mr. Sanga also mentioned that there are plans to enhance security measures, including the addition of more CCTV cameras along the road.

In conclusion, despite the reduction in the entertainment venue tax, operators are facing challenges due to the uneven economic recovery in the country. While some costs can be passed on to consumers, the 5% tax is still considered cumbersome for operators.


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