Surat Thani: The Tourism and Sports Ministry is seeking to extend the duration of the Full Moon Party by two hours until 4am as the renowned monthly beach party is back in full swing.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said he would ask the cabinet and the Interior Ministry to grant the extra time after inspecting the latest Full Moon Party on Had Rin on Koh Pha-ngan on Friday evening.
The packed party was joined by some 10,000 Thai and foreign revellers arriving in droves on shuttle boats from nearby Koh Samui, some docking as late as 9pm.
"The visitors said they enjoyed travelling to Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan and experiencing the Full Moon Party or the Half Moon Party," he said.
People told him they lamented the short duration of the Full Moon Party. They wanted the fun to carry on until 4am. "I'll ask the cabinet and the Interior Ministry to approve the extension," Mr Phiphat said. "The Full Moon Party has a unique appeal to people."
Locals on Koh Pha-ngan must look after tourists and help create a safe environment, he said.
The rebound in tourism after more than two years of painful stagnation from the Covid-19 pandemic is helping to revitalise the economy.
Mr Phiphat led the inspection by a combined law enforcement team on Koh Pha-ngan comprising police, soldiers and local administrative leaders. Deputy Surat Thani governor Sitthipong Klai-udom also took part.
The minister also observed transportation for the Full Moon Party, including speedboat operations that brought revellers to the site late into the night.
Sumet Meepat, owner of the Golden Moon company specialising in speedboat rental, said the Full Moon Party was welcoming more tourists since public health restrictions began to ease last year. Now, more than 10,000 people are joining each party.
Boats from various piers have reported brisk business shuttling revellers to the gathering.
Mr Sumet said he agreed with extending the opening hours to increase tourism revenue. It would show that tourism was back in business.
Kit Tharaputti, general manager of Lomprayah High Speed Ferries Co, Ltd, said the number of tourists heading to Koh Samui was almost back to pre-pandemic levels thanks to the easing of travel restrictions on May 1.