After the government extended opening hours for nightspots to 4am in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri and Phuket, business operators in other provinces are calling for the same policy to be applied there.
On Friday, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced the government would extend nightlife opening hours for a trial period in the four provinces first to boost tourism.
The measure is expected to take effect from Dec 15, he said, adding state agencies will consider how many months is suitable for the trial.
The extension will be temporary for the moment, and discussions about a change of zoning will be held in the future, the PM said.
He said the government intends to spur the economy and tourism domestically. The plan will also help generate more income for businesses in the tourism sector, including restaurants and entertainment venues.
Pichanont Ingprasarn, a co-owner of nightlife venues in three eastern provinces of Trat, Chanthaburi and Rayong, said the government is expected to study the pros of cons of the extension before deciding whether a similar concession will be applied to other provinces.
“If the extension boosts tourism and local economy in the four provinces, other provinces should also be allowed to add opening hours,” he said.
“The government should look at other provinces with the potential for tourism growth such as Rayong and Trat which have tourist attractions [such as Koh Chang in Trat]. Nightlife venues there are also the targets of foreign tourists,” he said.
He also wants the government to allow more nightspot operators on Koh Chang to apply for licences to operate legally, assign clear zoning for them and ensure stricter law enforcement to prevent underage people from visiting the venues and other problems.
Samphan Chanderm, an adviser to the Trat Tourism Council, also supported the extension of opening hours in Trat as it would will boost tourism income in the province, especially on Koh Chang.
Ratchaporn Poonsawat, president of the Koh Samui Tourism Association, said Koh Samui in Surat Thani is not among the provinces where the extension of opening hours for entertainment venues is taking effect, despite its tourism value. He said business operators here already discussed operating hour extension with the previous government.