A progressive lawmaker in Thailand is calling on the Government to scrap its ban on alcohol sales from 2 pm to 5 pm to support the tourism recovery.
Mr. Atavit Suwannapakdee, secretary-general of the Kla Party says Thailand’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, limits the hours alcoholic beverages can be sold and needs to be revised.
He said the alcohol sales ban from 2 pm to 5 pm remains an obstacle to tourism operators who have already been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr. Atavit came Saturday while attending a meeting of the Asia Pacific International Spirits and Wines Alliance (APISWA).
He said no other ASEAN country has unrealistic laws restricting the hours of alcohol sales.
According to Mr. Atavit, Thailand used to attract 40 million tourists annually, generating 3 trillion baht in revenue.
However, since 1972 there has been a law prohibiting alcohol sales from 2 pm to 5 pm, based on the outdated belief that drunk civil servants will not produce.
Laws need reform
Since the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) is proposing to allow night entertainment venues to operate until 2 am, starting July 1, the alcohol law needs to be revised to conform to the current situation, he said.
Recently, the Kla Party, led by the former finance minister and longtime Democrat heavyweight Korn Chatikavanij, has gained a lot of attention, with members calling for reforms, including legalizing gambling to boost the economy.
Thanakorn Kuptajit, a former chairman of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, said provisions that prohibit authorized sellers from selling alcoholic beverages between 2 pm and 5 pm won’t stop people from buying alcohol.
In its place, the authorities should enforce the law prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages to anyone under the age of 20 and revise the zoning requirements to sell alcohol, he added.
Thailand’s alcohol sales times
Thailand only allows alcohol purchases during certain times every day. Alcohol is sold from 11 am to 2 pm and from 5 pm to midnight. The law was introduced by a military junta in 1972.
Thailand also has the same alcohol hours in local shops and supermarkets. However, this law only applies to local stores.
Drinks can still be purchased at bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues at any time during the day, as long as you drink there.
Selling alcohol between the banned hours is punishable by a maximum prison term of six months and/or a maximum fine of 10,000 baht. In the case of minors under the age of 20, the penalties double.