BMA mulls longer hours for visitors

BMA mulls longer hours for visitors

Khao San Road teems with vendors and visitors as City Hall works on a plan to help nightspots pull in more tourists. The tourism sector was one of the hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the business is picking up after public health and travel restrictions have been eased, and borders fully reopened. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Khao San Road teems with vendors and visitors as City Hall works on a plan to help nightspots pull in more tourists. The tourism sector was one of the hardest-hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, but the business is picking up after public health and travel restrictions have been eased, and borders fully reopened. (Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Bangkok governor Chadchart Sittipunt hopes to stimulate the local economy by encouraging some tourist attractions, especially those along the Chao Phraya River, to stay open until midnight.

Mr Chadchart on Sunday said the extended opening hours of the city's tourist attractions, such as museums and temples, would not attract only foreign visitors, but also domestic tourists, to stay longer in the capital.

"Keeping tourist attractions past sunset will bring about many benefits [for tourists]. For one, the weather won't be as hot as during the daytime, which will undoubtedly improve visitors' mood," he said.

In addition, if the city's attractions are open in the evenings, tourists can better plan their itinerary to avoid traffic congestion during the busiest hours of the day, he said.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will work with a number of tourism associations to promote the idea, the governor said.

In the meantime, he added, City Hall is planning to install decorative lights around tourists attractions along the Chao Phraya River.

The BMA is also considering illuminating the street art along Phadung Krung Kasem canal every day, as opposed to only on the weekends when the area is turned into a "walking street".

To ensure the extended operating hours do not have any detrimental effect on communities, the BMA will need to come up with a guideline to improve public safety, he said.

"We need to find the right balance between stimulating the economy and keeping order in local communities,'' he said.

The governor said City Hall wants to work with local authorities in Venice to have Bangkok declared as its twin city.

"Bangkok has a lot of waterways and is known as Venice of the East, so by working closely with Venetian authorities, we can learn from their water management plan -- not to mention possible cultural exchanges and collaboration," he said, adding he hoped to see the partnership take shape early next year.

Mr Chadchart also stressed the importance of improving the city's liveability score. Bangkok is currently ranked 98th in Global Liveability Ranking conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and the governor said he wants to drive up the city's rank to around 50 by 2027.

"Tourists may see our city as quite a liveable place to live, but Bangkok residents may not agree. City Hall must develop the city to make it more liveable to both locals as well as to tourists," said Mr Chadchart.

"We will focus more on transparency, introduce more public green zones and creative collaborative space, as well as solve the city's recurring floods," the governor added.


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