The proposal to extend the operating hours of nightlife venues in Phuket for a trial period of three months has been put forward by local tourism operators. The Phuket Tourist Association‘s president, Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, has stated that the move to extend nightlife venue hours could potentially increase tourism revenue by an estimated 30%. The extension of hours would cater to the influx of tourists drawn to Phuket’s lively nightlife, and also address the issue of unregulated clubs operating until dawn.
The proposal includes safety measures such as an increase in security personnel during late-night hours and the introduction of more CCTV cameras to be installed at nightlife venues. Furthermore, Thaneth suggests the use of innovative technology to monitor the movements of tourists for enhanced safety.
Several operators have indicated their willingness to invest in these technological advancements to support the proposed safety measures. Thaneth emphasises the need for stricter law enforcement to manage issues such as altercations, illegal drug use, drunk driving, and ‘mafia taxis’ in order to minimise the potential negative consequences of extended operating hours.
In order to prevent disturbance to local communities, the proposal recommends clear zoning for entertainment venues. Thaneth is confident that tourist demand would follow the nightlife venues, even if new zoning is established outside the city.
Despite most of the nightlife venues on Bangla Road having reopened, income is still behind 2019 levels, largely due to the number of foreign arrivals not having fully recovered. It is expected that foreign arrivals to Phuket will total between 7 to 8 million this year, a significant decrease from the 10 million recorded in 2019, reported Bangkok Post.
Controversy has arisen over the recent conversion of the Phuket Expo facilities from an international convention centre to a quarantine centre, as part of the Public Health Ministry’s plans. Thaneth Tantipiriyakij argues that this plan is not beneficial for the tourism province and has expressed a preference for a return to the original plan to build a convention centre to attract large events.
He suggests that hotels, city halls and the convention centre could be converted into temporary quarantine areas in the event of a health emergency. If there is no update from the Public Health Ministry, tourism operators plan to submit a letter calling for a policy revision.
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