In an attempt to resolve the dragged on issue of zoning and so-called ‘unrealistic’ closure hours for entertainment businesses in tourist areas, the Phuket authorities held a meeting on Wednesday 8 September with the business operators. The meeting was chaired by Vice Governor Niwit Arunrat and attended by representatives of entertainment operators in Phuket. The vice governor explained that he wanted to listen to the business people’s difficulties and suggestions which should lead to ways out.
Phuket imposes rules for two zones for entertainment bars and clubs in Karon and Patong. They discussed two main issues: revocation of the zones and extending the service hours for the businesses. There are 313 registered businesses which account for less than 50% of the actual businesses in operation, meaning most are not controlled and not in line with promotion of tourism. As for the present closing time of 1am, the businesses see it as unrealistic as many foreign tourists like to use the services later at night, especially in Patong, according to surveys. When the businesses close at 1am the guests move on the beach which causes problems such as crime.
The Rawai area operators also want to be clear about the entertainment tax as they believe most entrepreneurs are willing to pay, but some entrepreneurs are now affected by paying ‘under the table’ to staff agencies, causing significant hardships.
The results of the meeting will be presented to a provincial public-private joint committee for consideration and forwarding to the Ministry of Interior for decisions.