BANGKOK – On Thursday Yuthasak Supasorn of the Tourism Authority of Thailand tries to calm tourists fears that the city of Bangkok was banning all the food vendors from the Streets of Bangkok.
His statement comes after Bangkok City Hall stunned Thais and tourists alike earlier this week with plans to bar the capital’s world-famous food stalls from all main roads to reclaim pavements for the public.
The announcement sparked media headlines around the World that the city was banning Street food vendors just weeks after CNN named it as the Street Food Capitol of the World.
Governor Yuthasak told reporters that Bangkok city will keep it’s uniqueness and that the plan was not to totally take away street food from Bangkok streets, but some places that will be reorganized.
Nearly two-thirds of Bangkok’s 30,000 street vendors have already been removed or relocated from pavements to open up space for pedestrians, according to city officials.
Vendors will be allowed to set up shop on smaller streets while hawkers based in two top tourist hubs — Chinatown and Khaosan Road — will be reorganized but not barred completely.
“Bangkok has some of the best street food in the world, you cannot take it away from the people of the world,” the tourist governor told reporters, adding that he was meeting with city officials to discuss how the restrictions would be enforced.
Many are hoping the crackdown will wither like many of the other clean-up campaigns launched under the ruling junta.
Tourism is a major of pillar of Thailand’s economy and has boomed despite a decade of political unrest and bad press over its dangerous roads and lax safety regulations.
The kingdom welcomed a record 32 million tourists in 2016, with revenue making up nearly a fifth of an otherwise lagging economy.