In a significant move aimed at stimulating the tourism sector in Thailand, the Minister of Interior, Anutin Charnvirakul, is responding to the policy of extending the opening hours of service establishments until 4 a.m. The government’s objective is to boost tourism by creating additional opportunities for spending during the tourist season. On October 25, 2023, Ms. Traisulee Traisanakul, Secretary to the Minister of Interior and a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, revealed that the Cabinet had assigned the Ministry of Interior as the lead agency to collaborate with relevant departments.
The focus of these discussions is to devise guidelines for extending service establishment hours in tourist areas, particularly during the high season. By tailoring regulations on a per-area basis, the government aims to promote tourism while maintaining a balanced approach that considers social impacts and legal requirements.
Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, has tasked agencies under the Ministry of Interior with translating government policies into concrete actions. This strategic move is intended to drive economic growth, generate income for entrepreneurs and citizens, and ensure a comprehensive approach to managing the potential social impacts in line with the law.
In a meeting chaired by Mr. Chamnanwit Terat, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, various agencies, including the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the Ministry of Transport, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Labor, the Ministry of Justice, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDB), the Royal Thai Police, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, and the city of Bangkok, came to a consensus.
The meeting principally agreed to issue ministerial regulations specifying criteria for designating tourist areas eligible for extended service hours until 4:00 a.m. These regulations will serve as a general framework for areas with tourism potential, permitting them to request extensions of their service hours. Upon fulfilling the conditions outlined in the ministerial regulations, the Minister of Interior will issue area-specific ministry announcements.
Ms. Traisulee emphasized that the issuance of ministerial regulations would be conducted without discrimination, and readiness would be the key factor in granting permissions. This approach aligns with the government’s tourism policy, aiming to stimulate tourism year-round without limiting specific areas or times. Moreover, it provides an opportunity to manage and mitigate potential challenges that may arise from extending service hours.
As the government progresses with these principles, relevant agencies will draft ministerial regulations, subject to the Minister of Interior’s approval. Afterward, these regulations will undergo a public hearing, cabinet approval, and final publication in the Royal Gazette before taking effect. This comprehensive strategy seeks to balance the promotion of tourism with responsible governance in Thailand.