BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's cabinet has approved a ministerial regulation that extends the opening hours of night clubs and entertainment venues in a bid to draw in more tourists, a government spokesperson said on Tuesday.
Entertainment venues, clubs and karaoke bars in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattya, Chiang Mai and Samui, popular tourist destinations, will be allowed stay open two extra hours until 4 AM, Traisulee Traisaranakul said.
Thailand's Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin had previously said the new rules would start on December 15.
The tourism industry is a key driver of the economy, which has seen sluggish growth compared with regional peers, and which Srettha's government is keen to revive with stimulus measures.
The decision to allow entertainment venues to stay open longer is the latest step taken by the government to boost foreign arrivals after the government in September waived visa requirements for Chinese visitors, a key source of tourists for Southeast Asia's second-biggest economy.
Thailand has so far welcomed 24.5 million foreign tourists this year and is forecasting 28 million arrivals for the full year.
Before the pandemic, Thailand booked a record 39.9 million arrivals, with 11 million from China. This year, the government expects just 3.5 million arrivals from China.
(Reporting by Paarat Thepgumpanat and Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Kanupriya Kapoor)