Published in News

Thailand May End 52-Year-Old Afternoon Alcohol Ban to Revive Restaurant Industry and Boost Tourism

Published on: Jul 7, 2024 12:07 AM

The Push to Lift the Afternoon Alcohol Ban in Thailand

Thailand's government is considering lifting a long-standing afternoon alcohol sales ban to support struggling restaurant operators amid an economic downturn. This initiative comes as representatives from the Restaurant Business Club submitted a letter to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, urging for measures to help restaurants survive the challenging economic climate.

Rising Costs and Struggling Businesses

Restaurant operators highlighted rising operating costs and increasing prices of ingredients as major challenges, leading to many business closures. They specifically called for the removal of a 52-year-old regulation that prevents alcohol sales between 2 PM and 5 PM.

Government's Response

During a Cabinet meeting at Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University, Bangkok-born Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin addressed the issue: “I will consider it (the lifting of the afternoon ban on alcohol sales). The government is trying to promote tourism, hoping they will also earn more income.”

Sorathep Rojpotjanaruch, Head of the Restaurant Business Club, stressed the need for urgent relief measures to prevent further business closures. He noted that operating costs have surged by 50%, while ingredient prices, including those for milk, eggs, and vegetables, have risen by 20% to 30%. Sorathep highlighted the decline in customer purchasing power in recent years, citing the sluggish economy and increased ingredient prices, alongside expensive electricity fees.

Impact on the Restaurant Industry

In 2019, Thailand's restaurant industry generated an estimated 420 billion baht in revenue, accounting for about 7% of the gross domestic product (GDP). This revenue was initially projected to grow by another 4% to 5% this year, but growth has slowed since April, leading to more restaurant closures, according to Sorathep.

“Small-scale vendors and food shops along streets are at risk of going out of business as they don’t have sufficient financial resources to stay afloat for long periods,” he added.

In addition to lifting the afternoon alcohol sales ban, the group proposed reducing building and land tax rates to alleviate financial pressures on businesses. They also suggested measures to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), such as allowing customers who request tax invoices from restaurants to claim up to 20,000 baht in tax deductions, while business operators could use the bills for tax deductions of up to 100,000 baht each.

Another proposal included a cash handout of 2,000 baht per person, to be spent over three months, exclusively on food through the Pao Tang app.

Historical Context of the Ban

The ban on retail alcohol sales between 2 PM and 5 PM was initially introduced by the coup regime of Thanom Kittikachorn in 1972 to prevent officials from drinking during work hours. This rule has remained in place ever since.

The Restaurant Business Club’s requests come at a crucial time as businesses grapple with the economic impact of rising costs and declining consumer spending. The government’s consideration of these proposals could provide much-needed relief for the industry, as reported by Bangkok Post.


The potential lifting of Thailand’s 52-year-old afternoon alcohol ban could provide a significant boost to the restaurant industry and tourism sector. Removing this restriction would likely increase patronage during the afternoon hours, leading to higher sales and improved financial stability for many restaurants. This change could also attract more tourists, who often seek flexible dining and drinking options, thereby contributing to the overall economy.

As businesses continue to face economic challenges, these proposed measures could offer vital support and help stabilize the industry. By addressing the rising costs of ingredients and operational expenses, restaurants would have a better chance to remain profitable and avoid closures. Additionally, the proposed tax incentives and financial support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) could encourage business growth and sustainability.

Moreover, the cash handout proposal, aimed at boosting consumer spending on food, could stimulate immediate economic activity, benefiting both consumers and restaurant operators. This holistic approach to economic relief demonstrates the government's commitment to supporting the restaurant industry and ensuring its resilience in the face of ongoing economic difficulties.

Overall, lifting the afternoon alcohol ban and implementing these complementary measures could create a more vibrant and sustainable restaurant industry in Thailand, fostering economic recovery and growth.


Source: Bangkok Post

Naipaporn Janbang Author
Property Content Specialist

Experienced content creator specializing in social media marketing, with a focus on the property market. Also, an SEO content specialist with over three years of experience in property marketing. Proficient in leveraging various digital channels to maximize brand exposure and drive engagement.

thailand tourism thainews alcoholban