The town of Pattaya better known as "Disneyland for Adults" has long been the heart of Thailand's "naughty nightlife" scene and is associated with wanton debauchery, on a scale that would make Gary Glitter blush. It's entertainment venues are known the world, over for allowing patrons to party into the wee small hours.
The current "official" closing time for nightime entertainment venues is 4am, but if the local politicos have their way then everyone will be expected to be home in bed, with a cup of cocoa and a copy of Razzle, by 1am......
According to the Bangokok Post (24/08/09) - "nightspots in entertainment zones have to shut at 2am while those outside the zones must close at 1am".
Whilst I might not necessarily want to party in nightclubs or Bar beers until 4am, there are plenty of tourists, young and old, male and female who like to let their hair down. And the majority of the tourist related services in Pattaya are geared towards satisfying the need of these tourists (both literally and metaphorically!!!).
I have no hideen agenda here, I personally don't know any bar owners and I don't have any financial interest in any of the local watering holes. These are merely the observations of someone who is interested in having a good time and ensuring that Thailand continues to thrive and remains open and welcoming to tourists.
If the bars are required to close early, the only people who will benefit are the local law enforcement officials, who will no doubt use this new law as a means of replenishing the coffers of the "Pattaya City Police Retirement Rund".
Not that I wish to denigrate the police, as many foreign observers do, because I have only ever had dealings with the Thai police on one previous occassion and although there were some communication issues, I was dealt with courteously and professionally.
In response to the proposed measures Bar and nightclub operators have lodged a petition with Pattaya mayor Itthipol Khunpluem seeking longer opening hours to help ease economic hardship.
I am in agreement with this move because at a time when the global economy is in recession and companies are closing left, right and centre, it does make any sense to introduce draconian new laws which will inevitably drive tourists away. Even the head of the TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) indicated that tourist numbers had only increased by 0.88% in the last 12 months and former MP Charnyut Hengtrakul recently stated that "authorities lacked understanding about the tourism industry, especially tourist towns such as Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai" (Bangkok Post - 24/08/09).
The Thai government are not alone in shooting themselves in the foot during this recession, the UK government are equally culpable. They have been guilty of successive rises in alcohol duty at a time when pubs/bars are closing in record numbers. It appears that during the recession fun is being prohibited!!!!
The moralists in the West, particularly in the UK, will say that these measures don't go far enough and will point to all the degenerates and n'eer do wells that are arriving in Pattaya looking to satisfy their base desires.
But those people should look at the drunken and disreputable behaviour that is displayed on the average high street, in Birmingham, London or Leeds, on Friday night and turn their attentions to cleaning up the mess in their own backyard before lecturing other countries how to conduct their business.
I hope that Pattaya continues to do well and successfully encourages more tourists as it is always as fun place to visit and it "does exactly what is says on the tin"!!!!
I hope you enjoyed this post and Im keen to hear your views on this or any of my other posts.
Over and out