According to a recent, randomly conducted phone survey by Nida, the opinions of Thailand’s populace—from entertainment enthusiasts to night-owl shunners—were solicited on the proposition of shifting the official closure time for entertainment hotspots from 2am to a more nocturnal 4am. The survey, administered between October 17 and October 19, included 1,310 interviewees of 18 years and above from various demographics.
Explorations into the nocturnal habits of the respondents presented a curious landscape: nearly 56% stated they were unfamiliar with after-dark adventures, while approximately 44% confessed they were accustomed to being part of the earlier nightlife scene. Delving deeper into the habits of those with nighttime entertainment experience under their belts, a subset of 581 respondents, the breakdown illuminated a range of frequencies in their recent annual nocturnal activities.
The majority of the good-night goers, about 57.66%, reported they were not frequenters of the late-night entertainment scene, while 33.22% only ventured out on special occasions, such as events or festivals. Those confessing to a monthly visit estimated at 4.13%, with the weekly visitors making up 2.58%. The regulars, those out nearly every day (3-5 days a week), constituted 2.07%. The die-hard party animals, out seven days a week, surprisingly, only reported at 0.34%!
The idea of extending the witching hours of entertainment venues from 2am to 4am generated a heated debate amongst the survey’s respondents. The majority, or 41.76%, lauded the 2am closing time as it was perceived to promote a balance in letting people enjoy without disturbing residents nearby. However, 23.66% suggested a 4am wrap-up, specifically for tourist favorite cities, touting it as a potential catalyst for an economic upswing by promoting tourism. A 17.56% block recommended universalizing a 4am nationwide closure to provide additional income opportunities for businesses and related professions.
Some respondents, 8.32% to be precise, called for shutting the venues even earlier than 2am, mainly citing safety reasons, such as reducing accidents and misdemeanors. A minority of 4.35% suggested the complete eradication of nighttime entertainment venues altogether in Thailand due to its disruptive nature to neighboring residents. The remaining respondents either didn’t provide a clear answer or proposed varied suggestions, like a 3am closing time.
As the economic dips and dives, the question of the efficacy of extending the opening hours of entertainment venues became even more pertinent. The respondents were quite split on this issue as well. About 28% were either quite confident or not confident at all about the possible boost to tourism, with a 16.56% fraction expressing a high level of confidence. A 26.72% block was entirely unconfident, while 1.30% chose not to disclose their opinion.
In regards to the establishment and frequency of checkpoints for alcohol testing and against drunk driving, there was an overall belief in the appropriateness of the current number of checkpoints (46.41%). However, a significant number (38.02%) believed that more checkpoints should be introduced. The remaining respondents either called for the complete removal of these checkpoints (8.17%), the reduction of their number (5.80%), or they chose not to opine (1.60%).
All the above statistical insights provide a peek into the great divide in public opinion over the operation of nightlife entertainment venues in Thailand. As the debate rages on, it will be most interesting to see how the key players in the industry—business owners, community residents, and governing bodies—will navigate these waters.