The military is thinking about lifting the curfew in tourist destinations such as Phuket and Pattaya, provided there are no signs of unrest in those areas.
Colonel Nattawat Chancharoen, deputy spokesman of the National Council for Peace and Order, said yesterday that this came after the NCPO’s chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, was told about how the nationwide curfew was hurting businesses badly. The 10pm-to-5am curfew had been particularly tough on restaurants, entertainment venues and other tourism-related businesses.
The curfew hours were shortened yesterday to midnight to 4am.
Meanwhile, the NCPO has assigned working committees in charge of the economy and security to assess the situation in tourist destinations.
“If there are no signs of unrest or anti-coup protests, then the NCPO might consider cancelling the curfew on a case-by-case basis,” the spokesman said, adding that a decision on the matter should be made by next week.
The Tourism and Sports Ministry recently reported that the number of tourist arrivals had dropped since martial law was declared on May 19. Still, some 4,000 Chinese tourists went ahead with their travel itinerary, which included Pattaya, despite an advisory from the Chinese government.
The Federation of Thai Industries, meanwhile, has lowered this year’s target for tourist arrivals to 26.8 million from 28 million mainly because of the political unrest.
Shops open longer
Separately, Robinson and Central department stores in Bangkok and elsewhere will now close at 10pm, as well as all branches of The Mall, the Emporium and Siam Paragon.
Convenience stores such as 7-Eleven and FamilyMart will also close at midnight instead of 10pm.