Governor backs 4am closing times

Governor backs 4am closing times

Bangkok chief says tourism would thrive

Night entertainment venues on Soi Nana in Bangkok. The governor says one of his missions is to free up night-time activities. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Night entertainment venues on Soi Nana in Bangkok. The governor says one of his missions is to free up night-time activities. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

The governor of Bangkok supports entertainment venues staying open until 4am in order to promote night-time tourism.

Chadchart Sittipunt said tourism, including the hotel segment, is at the heart of the city's economy as the sector creates jobs and pay taxes for the city.

"My main duty is to remove all obstacles for you," Mr Chadchart told attendees at Wednesday's monthly meeting of the Thai Hotels Association.

He said one of his missions for Bangkok is to extend tourism activities until 4am. The weather cools down late at night and city traffic thins out, said Mr Chadchart.

A new policy on 4am closing times for bars and clubs would require government approval. He said there needs to be a balance between all parties, including local residents and tourists.

"We have to ensure this idea does not create a negative impact for some parties and that entertainment venues comply with the rules," said Mr Chadchart.

To create night-time zoning for entertainment activities in Bangkok, the city should base decisions on demand, he said.

A number of projects are intended to revive night-time tourism, such as a lighting event along the Chao Phraya River and Klong Phadung Krung Kasem, which is part of the "Colourful Bangkok Festival" at the end of the year.

Mr Chadchart said he is concerned about delays in hotel licensing approvals for small operators, which must apply at the Public Works Department instead of district offices.

He said the process should be a one-stop service without the need to meet officers in person.

Meanwhile, the governor admitted there were a number of obstacles for the hotel sector, including land tax inequalities for hotels and monthly housing providers such as apartments. Hotels are charged a land tax of 0.3%, while the rate for monthly accommodation operators is only 0.02%.

Overpriced food and tuk-tuk transport are other areas of concern for Mr Chadchart.

Labour shortages have become a critical issue for hoteliers, with the latest hotel confidence index showing that 43% of hotel owners are preoccupied with this problem. He said Bangkok would open more vocational schools to deal with this issue.

In the upcoming years, Mr Chadchart said Bangkok would embark on collaborative projects with the Italian city of Venice for cultural exchanges and sharing knowledge around water management.

He said he is optimistic about the Covid-19 situation in Bangkok, citing low cases and high vaccination rates, particularly amongst the elderly.

One of Mr Chadchart's goals is making Bangkok one of the world's top 50 liveable cities during his four-year term, up from No.98 at present. Achieving this goal would make the city worth visiting, he said.

According to Bangkok Metropolitan Administration data, tourism contributed 883 billion baht in city revenue in 2019.

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