Pattaya Daily News

29 May 2014 :: 10:05:42 am 88320

Curfew takes heavy toll on Phuket businesses

Although the nighttime curfew imposed by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has been relaxed, it has taken a heavy toll on the profits of Phuket’s entertainment industry, particularly the nightlife in Patong.
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Even when the curfew is cancelled, it is not clear how long it will take for confidence to reassert itself and for tourists numbers to return to normal levels for the time of year.
 
Weerawit Kuresombat, President of the Patong Entertainment Association, told The Phuket News, “All entertainment businesses have had to change their opening time from the usual 10pm or so to around 5pm.
 
“Normally the revenue of all the entertainment businesses in Patong is about B10 million a day. But now it is only about B5 million.
“In addition, lots of tourists have cancelled hotel bookings in Patong as a result of the political situation.”
 
Usually tourists understand that Phuket is largely unaffected by political turmoil in Bangkok, he said, so the curfew, he believes, is the reason they are cancelling. “The start of the low season combined with the political situation is giving us all a hard time. But we must survive.”
 
Anoma Wongyai, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phuket office commented, “Since the curfew was announced, the number of bookings for flights and hotels has been falling. Chinese and Japanese tourists are particularly sensitive.
 
“Cancellations have averaged between 10 and 30 per cent a day. Actually, the number of tourists always drops in the low season. So, I think that the fall in the number of tourists is not only because of the curfew.
 
“I can’t predict the long-term effect on tourism. However, in a few days there will be discussions between the TAT and the NCPO about creating confidence in tourists.”
 
Initially the military imposed a curfew lasting from 10pm to 5am, but on Tuesday evening (May 27) the NCPO announced a relaxation, reducing the curfew to the period from midnight to 4am. The GM of a four-star hotel in Patong who asked not to be named told The Phuket News, “I am not worried about this because I have about 87-per-cent occupancy and the hotel is not much affected. We have a bar and entertainment. “But the curfew is of concern especially for the small businesses on Bangla Rd and similar areas.
 
“In fact, all the necessary information is broadcast on television. So I believe that everyone including tourists already knows about the NCPO announcements. The tourists now get only an extra two hours then they go to bed. I hope it will all be fine soon.” Small hotels appear to be suffering more. A receptionist who worked for a number of smaller, low-end hotels on Thaweewong Rd and Phrabaramee Rd in Patong said, “Lots of booking are being cancelled. Absolutely [the curfew] has affected the hotels.
 
“This is because most of the guests are backpackers and others who come for the nightlife. Many have asked me, ‘Why is this happening to me? I’ve spent money on this vacation.’They cannot do what they want to – which is to come back after midnight.“The tourists told me that they are not happy about this.”
 
A manager of Famous nightclub in Jungceylon, Patong, said, “It’s nice to know that the [NCPO] has extended the time to midnight because usually our customers come late at night. Two days ago we even closed our bar and told staff to take time off. “Today [Wednesday] we hope that we can sell something for two hours.”
 
The owner of another big night club in Patong told The Phuket News, “Business is not very good because we can’t sell anything. Our daily revenue has dropped about 70 per cent. We open earlier but there are no people.
 
“Most people do not come [to nightclubs] early. They come late. Usually they come about midnight, but now that’s the time we have to close.”
 
Most restaurants outside Patong have not been affected by the curfew, because they normally close around 10pm. A restaurateur in Karon told The Phuket News, “We take last orders at 9pm, so we are not affected. But other restaurants nearby usually stay open until midnight. When they had to close at 10pm they lost two hours’ business. “Now that the NCPO has changed the curfew time to be midnight to 4am it is alright.”
 
In Patong, however, the story is very different. The owner of a small Thai restaurant on Soi Tan in Patong said, “After the curfew was announced the number of tourists declined.
 
“Some tourists who did come said this was because [of restrictions] on nightlife. Before the coup, I was making good profits but now I’m making only about B1,000 a day.”
 
Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup, who took up her post just the day before the coup, said, “Yes, I know it is necessary to have a curfew, but the NCPO has been flexible. Some businesses have been affected by it. I just hope that everything will be back to normal soon.”
 
View the original story on The Phuket News

Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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