Entertainment venue operators in Pattaya are generally pleased with the Prime Minister’s plan to extend the closing hours to 1 AM to boost the economy in tourist hotspot areas, which will likely include Pattaya.
The Minister of the Interior Anutin Charnvirakul recently urged relevant officials to identify suitable areas for the extension of closing hours for entertainment venues to 1 AM in general, in response to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s directive aimed at boosting the economy.
TPN notes that some areas in entertainment zones already have later closing times but this proposal would allow venues outside of these zones, like in East Pattaya or Jomtien, to legally stay open until 1 AM.
There are also proposals to extend the entertainment zones entirely, especially to Jomtien. Current entertainment zones in Pattaya havent changed since 2002, but the landscape of Pattaya has changed significantly since this time, seeing hundreds of bars now outside of Central Pattaya. Unfortunately, many technically have to act like “restaurants” as entertainment venues are not officially permitted.
All in all, the news seemed to come as a delight for operators of nightlife venues in Pattaya, as the extension is primarily aimed at popular tourist spots such as Pattaya and Phuket, as stated by the prime minister.
On Thursday, October 5th, Mr. Damrongkierati Phinijkarn, the Secretary of the Pattaya Entertainment and Tourism Industry Association, revealed to The Pattaya News that the policy boded a good sign for tourism in the city.
The extension of closing hours from midnight to 1 AM will benefit owners and employees of night businesses and even vendors who sell goods in the area.
However, Mr. Damrongkierati said from his personal perspective, he wished the government would entirely lift the limitation and allow entertainment businesses to operate 24/7 as in other countries such as Spain.
Still, Mr. Damrongkierati stated it is crucial to have strict regulations in place to govern these services. Such regulations are necessary to prevent negative impacts on communities and to ensure the safety of customers. These regulations should also address issues like drunk driving and the management of noise levels, Mr. Damrongkierati suggested.
If the government is to further extend the operating hours beyond 1 AM in the future, Mr. Damrongkierati advised they should pilot it in Pattaya by extending it to 4 AM to see how things go.
Nevertheless, Prime Minister Srettha mentioned that permitting 24/7 operations might not be the ideal solution. He said extending the current operating hours and carefully assessing entertainment zones would be a better approach, citing this would also help prevent corruption among officials.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Lamphueng ‘Lisa’ Hamilton, the chairperson of the Pattaya Night-Business Entrepreneurs Association, expressed her gratitude for the government, citing the extension as a longstanding goal of her association.
She believed that the current closing time of midnight (or 2 AM depending on specific zones) for entertainment venues does not align with the current situation, adding foreign tourists typically don’t start their evenings until 10 or 11 PM, and having venues close shortly after that isn’t a sound business decision.
A patron named Ms. Anisa, 39, shared her thoughts with The Pattaya News saying the 1 AM closure is a good idea because not everyone finishes work at the same time. Some people who finish late only have a few hours of leisure, and the current closing hours are stopping them from enjoying a night out, Ms. Anisa said.
Regarding potential impacts, the patron believed there shouldn’t be many impacts as the police already have measures in place to ensure the safety and well-being of tourists and communities near the entertainment districts.