Thailand used to draw 40 million tourists every year, bringing in 3 trillion baht in revenue, but since 1972, a regulation barring the sale of alcohol between the hours of 2 and 5 p.m. has been in place, based on the outmoded belief that drunk civil workers will not work successfully. The Kla Party, led by former finance minister and long-serving Democrat Korn Chatikavanij, has gathered traction in recent weeks, with members calling for a variety of reforms, including the legalization of gambling to help the economy. Regulations prohibiting licensed vendors from selling alcoholic beverages between 2 and 5 p.m., according to Thanakorn Kuptajit, a former head of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association, will not prevent people from buying alcohol. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which limits the hours during which alcoholic beverages can be sold, has to be amended because it remains a barrier for tourism businesses already impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak. On July 1, the Centre for Covid-19 Circumstances Administration advocated allowing night entertainment venues to stay open until 2 a.m. and updating the law controlling alcohol sales to suit the current situation.
The authorities should strictly enforce the rule prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages to people under the age of 20, as well as alter the zoning requirement for selling alcoholic beverages, since it is no longer relevant in the current context. Atavit Suwant topakdee, the Kla Party’s Secretary-General, says the government should abolish the limitation on selling alcohol from 2 to 5 p.m. to assist the tourism industry recover, noting that no other Southeast Asian country has such restrictions.

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