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Suvarnabhumi and Major Airports to Serve Alcohol, Boosting Thai Tourism

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Passengers eagerly await their flights at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan, buzzing with the news that soon, they can sip on their favorite alcoholic beverages while waiting. Yes, you read it right! Suvarnabhumi and five other major international airports have the official go-ahead to serve alcoholic drinks, following a long-anticipated announcement. (Photo: Suvarnabhumi Airport)

What started as a dull Thursday took an exciting turn when the Alcoholic Beverage Control Committee gave a green light for all airports under the Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) to start serving alcohol on Asarnha Bucha, Visakha Bucha, Makha Bucha, Buddhist Lent, and the end of Buddhist Lent days. These six bustling hubs—Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, and Hat Yai—are set to transform the way travelers experience layovers and delays, with a toast to the boost in tourism this change promises.

For years, alcohol sales have been strictly prohibited across Thailand on these sacred Buddhist days. Imagine the surprise when Deputy Prime Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, presiding over the momentous meeting, announced this groundbreaking shift aimed at supercharging the country’s tourism revenue. While he didn’t specify the exact date this policy would kick in, it’s clear that the change awaits only a formal amendment to the Prime Minister’s Office announcement.

However, as one door opens, another stays firmly shut. The meeting nixed a proposal from the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) that sought to reconsider the sale of alcohol—including beer—at train stations and onboard trains. Policymakers requested the SRT to go back to the drawing board, delving deeper into the plan’s economic implications and public health considerations.

The standing ban on alcohol sales at train stations and on trains was put into effect in 2015, following a harrowing incident in July 2014. It involved a former railway employee who, after consuming beer on a train, sexually assaulted a 13-year-old passenger and then tragically threw her out of the train window. That dark chapter led to strict regulations that today seem unyielding in the face of recent proposals.

While the skies over Thailand’s six major airports may soon carry the cheerful clinks of glasses, the country’s railways remain a sobering testament to the need for comprehensive study and cautious policymaking. Here’s to hoping that whatever changes come next, they balance both the zest for economic growth and the imperative for public safety. Cheers to small victories and cautious optimism!


  1. Emily R July 5, 2024

    This is amazing news! I hate those dry layovers.

    • Trevor July 5, 2024

      Sure, until people start getting rowdy and causing trouble in the terminals. Not everyone handles alcohol well!

      • jenny25 July 5, 2024

        Totally agree, Trevor. I can already see the potential for chaos.

      • Emily R July 5, 2024

        Valid points, but moderation is key. Maybe they can have drink limits?

  2. Phil M July 5, 2024

    What a double standard! Why allow alcohol in airports but not on trains?

    • Natasha July 5, 2024

      The incident in 2014 was horrific. They have their reasons for being cautious.

      • Phil M July 5, 2024

        I get the concern, but that was one person. Why penalize everyone for it?

      • Jeff K July 5, 2024

        Phil, public safety outweighs the convenience of a few passengers. One tragedy is enough.

  3. yummyearth July 5, 2024

    Alcohol and airports do not mix well, IMO. People already stressed about flying don’t need liquor to make it worse.

    • Alyssa July 5, 2024

      Or it could help them relax? Ever thought about that?

    • mike_71 July 5, 2024

      I agree, yummyearth. On a cultural note, this seems disrespectful on sacred days.

      • Zara July 5, 2024

        But tourism feeds the economy. Sometimes compromises are needed.

  4. Chan July 5, 2024

    I don’t understand why we need to westernize everything. What happened to respecting our traditions?

    • Liam July 5, 2024

      It’s about economic growth, Chan. Traditions can coexist with modernity.

      • Chan July 5, 2024

        Maybe, but our identity shouldn’t be up for sale.

  5. ITGuy July 5, 2024

    I feel sorry for the airport staff. Handling tipsy travelers sounds like a nightmare.

    • Maria L July 5, 2024

      True, but it might also create new job opportunities in hospitality.

  6. John D July 5, 2024

    Capitalism at its finest! Anything to make a quick buck, huh?

    • priyaa July 5, 2024

      It’s not just for profit. Increased tourism benefits everyone, including small businesses.

  7. travel_junky July 5, 2024

    If this helps with tourism, I’m all for it. Let’s face it, we need all the help we can get post-pandemic.

    • Carol S July 5, 2024

      Good point, but let’s not forget about promoting responsible tourism too.

  8. Jordan P July 5, 2024

    Why are we discussing alcohol sales instead of focusing on improving airport infrastructure first?

    • Mandy July 5, 2024

      Eh, one doesn’t have to exclude the other. We can improve both simultaneously.

  9. John R July 5, 2024

    I think it’s about time! Other major airports do it, so why not us?

  10. buddhism4life July 5, 2024

    Regular tourists and holidaymakers might like it, but it’s not good for devoted Buddhists. Alcohol on sacred days is a no-go.

    • Lara K July 5, 2024

      Airports are international spaces. Not everyone shares the same religious beliefs.

    • Mia July 5, 2024

      We should respect local traditions regardless. This is a sensitive issue.

  11. sammy123 July 5, 2024

    Imagine kids seeing drunk people at airports. Bad influence much?

    • Liam July 5, 2024

      Bars already exist in airports, and parents should manage what their children see.

    • Mandy July 5, 2024

      True, but this could lead to more people drinking at odd hours.

  12. Savitree July 5, 2024

    How about better customer service and more comfortable seating? Priorities, people!

    • Nick July 5, 2024

      Enhancing passenger experience can include multiple upgrades including alcohol.

  13. Aaron July 5, 2024

    Alcohol won’t fix layover boredom. How about more activities and entertainment?

  14. Kamal July 5, 2024

    This could lead to irresponsible behavior and regrets for many. I would foresee more incidents.

    • Julia July 5, 2024

      But isn’t personal responsibility a thing? People should know their limits.

    • Kamal July 5, 2024

      True, Julia, but not everyone exercises self-control.

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