Extending Nightlife Trading Hours; Considering the ‘Pattaya Model’

The Pattaya News has report on a meeting held on on Sunday (25th August) with the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) between Pattaya  police, immigration, tourist police, media and a collection of local business owners and alcohol control group representatives. The meeting discussed a proposal to extend legal closing hours for nightlife in Pattaya.

Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, who represents TAT as it’s governor, listened to all sides and their concerns in the meeting on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Sports who has proposed extending legal closing hours in the tourist nightlife hotspots across the country, such as Pattaya, Phuket, Bangkok Nightlife areas and Krabi.

The current legal closing time depends on the area and in Pattaya is between midnight and 2 AM. Walking Street has generally been given an unofficial exception to be open later. The proposal would make it completely legal for nightlife to stay open until 4 AM.

The current proposal is being called The Pattaya Model and if successful will be replicated across the countries top tourist destinations. It would involve specific special zoning exceptions to allow later closing times with controlled zones.

The governor heard the concerns of parties opposed to the later closing times, including the potential of accidents, drugs, crime and minors drinking. It was agreed that safety and security would be a partnership between entertainment business owners and local law enforcement.

An initial and unofficial poll of those present showed that 80 percent of those attending wanted the hours extended and only a small, but vocal, minority were opposed.

The Governor of TAT admitted that several factors were hurting tourism, including the strength of the baht, changing demographics and the global economy, however, the Tourism Authority has no ability to dictate financial policy and is only able to move forward on what it can take action on, such as extension of closing hours for businesses.

Local nightlife business owners estimated that a 20 percent revenue gain could be made by extending the legal closing hours at the meeting.  The Governor of TAT will be bringing the findings to the tourism ministry next week.