PHUKET: The future of jet-skis on Phuket is likely to be resolved at a meeting on Thursday where the issue of beach sunbeds and vendors will also be discussed.
Phuket Governor Nisit Jansomwong has the power to ban the dangerous and noisy machines from Phuket's beaches, in line with the wishes of most tourists.
A previous governor has already declared that jet-skis should be taken off Phuket's beaches but the seven-year phase-out that he implemented fizzled and the machines are now operating on more beaches than ever before - even some beaches where they are supposed to be banned.
Phuket's neighboring provinces of Krabi and Phang Nga have no jet-skis and it would make sense for the ''Andaman cluster'' of holiday provinces to present a united front and develop a reputation for being environmentally friendly.
Phang Nga and Krabi also ban sunbeds and vendors, in line with Thailand's laws about public beaches.
Because the opinions of tourists have not been considered in previous meetings where the future of Phuket's jet-skis has been discussed, only solutions that suit jet-ski operators have been proposed at the beach where the majority of the island's jet-skis operate, Patong.
Instead of talking to tourists who are swimmers about their wishes, the concept of zoning appears to have been put forward by jet-ski operators and accepted by Patong authorities.
The use of lines of buoys to keep swimmers separated resolves some safety issues but it gives over hundreds of metres of the beachfront to the machines.
What it means is that people who settle on the beach opposite the jet-ski zone will have to put up with the noise. They will also have to leave their possessions and walk possibly hundreds of metres to safely go for a swim in a swimmer-only zone.
The dedication of so much space along the beachfront to jet-skis would show the world that in Patong, the jet-ski business takes priority over the wishes and the welfare of the tourists who come to swim at Phuket's main swimming beach.
This is unwise for the future of Patong and Phuket.
The parasailers are even more disruptive and clearly represent private commerce on a public beach.
The question of how commercial transactions relating to jet-skis take place without the use of the public beach also appears to be impossible to resolve.
Any visitor to Patong will see touts selling jet-ski rides to tourists on the beach and on public space behind the beach.
It's time the phasing out of jet-skis, proposed so many years ago and accepted by everyone, was brought to a ''natural'' conclusion.