Thailand will be lifting a five-decade-long alcohol ban that has been imposed since 1972 that forbids alcoholic beverage sales in the afternoon between 2 and 5pm, starting from July 1 in a hope to boost local tourism.
Starting from tomorrow, alcohol can be sold at hotels in the afternoon and each provinces will decide if the relaxation will be further extended to restaurants and tourist attractions.
Convenience stores such as 7/11 however will still be banned from selling beverage during the three-hour period.
The news came as Thailand is set to welcome an estimated 25,000 – 30,000 international tourists in July. A total of 7.5 million people are expected to visit the Kingdom by the end of 2022.
Meanwhile, pubs and bars will also be allowed to operate until 2am starting from Friday as the country loosens Covid restrictions.
Previously, Thanakorn Kuptajit, former president of the Thai Alcohol Beverage Business Association (TABBA), estimated that the lift on afternoon alcohol sales would generate at least 10 billion baht (US$283.3 million) in a month.
In Thailand, alcohol sales is permitted from 11am to 2pm and 5pm onwards to midnight. The ban has been effective since 1972 when Thai military junta imposed it.
Businesses selling alcohol between the banned hours can face a maximum prison term of six months and/or a maximum fine of 10,000 baht (US$283). The penalties double if the purchase is made by minors aged less than 20.