Vendors say curfew hits border trade, tourism

Vendors say curfew hits border trade, tourism

The nationwide 10pm-5am curfew is hindering border trade between Thailand and Laos, Nakhon Phanom food vendors have warned.

The military coup prompted border patrols to set up temporary curfew checkpoints on Highway No 212 in Nakhon Phanom and at the border checkpoint in tambon Phailom, Ban Phaeng district. Naval officers are also patrolling the Mekong River along the border around the clock.

Street food vendor Benjamas Chouynalue sells her products in the Ban Phaeng border market.

She said her daily sales used to bring in 14,000-15,000 baht, but that figure has dropped to between 8,000 and 10,000 baht since the curfew.

Theeranun Neuna, the owner of a fruit shop, said the curfew had also damaged her business.

She said her profits have dropped from 40,000 baht to 2,000 baht per day.

Meanwhile, Pakaimas Weira, vice-president of international trade affairs at the Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce, called on the National Council for Peace and Order to change the curfew period to between midnight and 5am to protect the tourism industry from further losses and bolster exports.

Ms Pakaimas said the strict security measures following the coup come at a time when tourists are already inconvenienced after the recent earthquake. “Chiang Rai was hit badly by the earthquake. And now the province is being badly affected by political issues,” she said.

However, former president of Ranong Chamber of Commerce Nit Uitekkeng said the Thai-Myanmar border trade is still active since Myanmar locals frequently travel to Ranong to buy goods, particularly grocery items.

Mr Nit said Myanmar residents were stocking up on grocery items in case of a food shortage caused by the Thai political conflict. He said it is "business as usual" at the moment, despite stricter security measures at eight border checkpoints along the border since the coup.

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