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Excise tax ‘final straw’ for Patong entertainment businesses, warns scion

Excise tax ‘final straw’ for Patong entertainment businesses, warns scion

PHUKET: Reports by Patong scion Preechawut “Prab” Keesin, head of the Pisona Group of companies and son of long-time former Patong Mayor Pian Keesin, that an 11% excise tax being levied on entertainment businesses in Phuket’s busiest tourism town may be the final straw for their survival are gaining momentum.

By The Phuket News

Tuesday 4 June 2019, 07:50PM

Patong scion Preechawut “Prab” Keesin has denounced the excise tax as potentially devastating for Patong entertainment businesses. Images: Prab Keesin

Patong scion Preechawut “Prab” Keesin has denounced the excise tax as potentially devastating for Patong entertainment businesses. Images: Prab Keesin

Mr Prab first denounced the 11% excise tax on his Facebook page last Friday (May 31), saying that entertainment operators in Patong were already suffering heavily from plunging tourism figures.

He also posted photos of the streets of Patong devoid of traffic during the daytime.

Mr Prab branded the excise tax as “state sponsored extortion”, and blamed the tax for businesses having to hike prices in a town that already has some of the highest ground rents on the island.

“Patong is already experiencing economic problems, and it is the low season, ” Mr Prab said.

“At the same time, through its new tax calculation, the Excise Department is trying to take 11% tax from the income of entertainment operators each month,” he added.

Mr Prab estimated that 35% of entertainment businesses in Patong’s usually-bustling entertainment district, centred around Bangla Rd, had already folded.

He also warned that more closures were to follow.

Weerawit Kreuasombat, President of the Patong Entertainment Business Association (PEBA), which represents some 500 entertainment businesses in Phuket’s busiest tourism party town, in December branded this most recent tourism high season in Phuket as “the worst high season in Patong in 10 years”.

Laguna Golf Phuket

Kanokkittika Kritwutikon, Director of the Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), strongly denied that the Phuket was suffering an incredibly low number of visitors during the tourism ‘high season’.

Ms Kanokkittika admitted that the number of Chinese tourists visiting Phuket so far that month had dropped by 2.63% compared with the same period year before, but also pointed out that the fall in Chinese arrivals had been offset by a 3.63% increase in the number of arrivals from other source markets. (See story here.)

The island’s top nightlife drawcard Bangla Rd in Patong has been taking a battering in business in recent years as the tourists visiting Phuket – and especially Patong – has changed in terms of demographics and source markets, despite officials reporting record numbers of tourist arrivals.

In 2016, Sompoch Sukkaew, PEBA’s chief legal counsel, noted, “Over the past three years, most bars were averaging about B90,000 revenue per day at this time of year … Now they’re making just B40,000.

“Small bars in small streets off Bangla Rd used to average B40,000 to B50,000 a day, now they’re down to just B10,000 a day.”

Live music venues were suffering worse. “They used to average about B360,000 as day during the peak season, but now they’re making just B60,000 to B90,000 per day,” Mr Somphoch said.

That trend has continued. (See story here.)


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BenPendejo | 05 June 2019 - 16:11:05

I agree, that the tax isn't killing business. I think it is corruption in the form of lowlife street mafia and corrupt police that are killing businesses while at the same time robbing government (as in Thai people) of tax revenues.  It is mafia-run public transport racket, the infamous lack of public safety, and pathetic environmental management by local officials that are killing tourism.

Timothy | 05 June 2019 - 09:32:01

So these bars have been making 40 to 50K per day and haven't been paying any tax? Well, except for the monthly payment to the local mafias. I believe the money was going to a group that included the police and tourist police....Drinks are totally overpriced. Touts are in your face constantly. It's dirty and stinks of sewage from the street drains.....Basically, a dump.  

Fascinated | 05 June 2019 - 09:25:53

'Scion'- that's a new word for him- he'd know a lot about extortion wouldn't he! Yep an excise tax on top of tea money and 'dues' to the PEBA must be killing business. get rid of the gangsters and there's plenty of money for all. A Gov't taxing income- how dare they!

Foot | 05 June 2019 - 09:08:20

He’s correct, of course.  I’ve been whining since 2014 that Thailand has become anti-tourist.  
Just another brick in the wall being built to keep out tourists. 

Discover Thainess | 04 June 2019 - 20:50:28

I think most people would be absolutely delighted if this man went out of business, which would allow Patong to be re-creates in a corruption free and fair way. You reap what you sow.

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