Phuket tourism operators have requested that the government prolong the operation hours of entertainment venues for at least three months in order to monitor the outcome and assure tourism safety.
According to Thaneth Tantipiriyakij, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, the operators want to maintain entertainment venues open until late at night because Phuket attracts many people who come for the nightlife.
Allowing these facilities to close at 2 a.m. or 4 a.m. will enhance tourism earnings by roughly 30% and reduce the impact of illegal clubs that run into the early hours of the morning, he claims.
However, Mr Thaneth stressed the importance of safety measures in order to avoid any unpleasant accidents in the late hours.
He suggested that the authorities test the expansion on Bangla Road by closing at 4 a.m. before deciding on an appropriate time. According to Mr Thaneth, this could help officials anticipate how many security staff and transportation are required to accommodate tourists in the area.
Installing CCTV cameras
Authorities should also consider installing more CCTV cameras along the roadway or employing technology that recognises tourists, he added. Mr Thaneth stated that many operators have expressed a willingness to co-invest in technology to help safety measures.
Quarrels, illegal substances, drunk driving, and mafia taxis, he said, should be monitored by tougher law enforcement to ensure that the effects of the longer hours are minimal.
According to Mr Thaneth, the regulation should provide defined zoning for entertainment venues so that nightlife enterprises do not bother the adjacent community.
Even if new zoning is established outside of the city, he believes that tourist demand will follow these entertainment businesses.
Most nightlife clubs on Bangla Road have reopened, but revenue continues to lag behind that of 2019, largely because the number of foreign guests has yet to fully return, according to Mr Thaneth.
He expects 7-8 million foreign visitors to Phuket this year, down from 10 million in 2019.
According to Public Health Ministry plans earlier this month, the Phuket Expo facilities were converted from an international conference centre to a quarantine centre, which Mr Thaneth claimed did not make sense for the tourism province.
He claimed that the original proposal to create a convention centre capable of hosting huge events would provide more benefits in the long term.
Mr Thaneth stated that in the event of a health emergency, all hotels, city buildings, and the convention centre may be transformed into temporary quarantine zones. He stated that tourism operators had already expressed their displeasure to their legislators and the provincial Joint Public and Private Sector Consultative Committee.
If the Public Health Ministry does not provide an update, tourism operators will send a letter requesting a policy adjustment, according to Mr Thaneth.
Foreigners arrested in Phuket
In other Phuket News, a Russian and two Indian nationals were arrested and charged for overstaying their visas during a police raid on a villa in Bang Thao beach area of Phuket’s Thalang district on Thursday.
At about 1.15pm, a team of immigration and tourist police went to the villa to arrest an Indian man on charges of threatening and intimidating other people.
The officers did not find the Indian man, who was believed to be hiding inside the villa. However, they found a 33-year-old Russian man whose visa had expired.
Four policemen remained outside the villa.
A foreign man came out of the villa wielding a baseball bat. He attacked the police with the bat, injuring two officers. The police called for reinforcements.
At about 5.15pm, a 30-strong special operation team and immigration police went to the villa. In a search, the police detained five foreigners for passport and visa checks.
Among the detained foreigners were two Indian men. Both were found to have overstayed their visas.
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