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Is Thailand about to lift its 52-year-old ban on afternoon drinking? 

The country’s hospitality industry is pushing for changes in a half century-old law prohibiting alcohol sales for three hours each afternoon
  • Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin says he’ll consider their proposals in the face of rising costs that have dampened consumer spending

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UPDATED: 05 Jul 2024, 7:40 am

Thailand’s prime minister is considering ending a 52-year-old ban on afternoon alcohol sales due to lobbying from the tourism industry, Bloomberg reports.

The country’s Restaurant Business Club and the Thai Hotels Association have both pushed for measures that will spur sales in the face of rising costs and low consumer spending – including tax breaks and lifting the afternoon alcohol sales ban.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin has responded via a post on the Royal Thai Government website, saying he was “pleased to consider proposals from restaurant operators to change laws that ban sales of alcoholic beverages from 2 pm to 5 pm.”

[See more: ‘Love trumps prejudice’: Thai lawmakers pass same-sex marriage law]

“We have to look at the overall picture on this,” Srettha added. “Costs are rising, but the government is also promoting tourism, which will help boost restaurant operators’ income.”

Thailand – which is suffering from a sluggish economy, post-pandemic – aims to woo 36.7 million travellers in 2024, and boost gross domestic product growth to 3 per cent. It welcomed 17.5 million foreign tourists in the first half of the year.

The three-hour ban on selling alcohol each afternoon has been in force since 1972, when the country emerged as one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The potential liberalising of alcohol laws comes as the country plans to reinstate a ban on the recreational use of cannabis by the end of this year.

UPDATED: 05 Jul 2024, 7:40 am

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