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Commerce has not been controlled at Patong, Phuket's most famous beach

Phuket Officials Rush to Finalise Beach Policy With Tourist High Season Days Away

Tuesday, October 20, 2015
PHUKET: All of Phuket's prime tourism beaches are to be inspected next week in a flurry of activity as officials seek to finally impose the ''10 percent zone'' ruling just three days before the high season begins.

Under the ''10 percent zone'' ruling, people who wish to bring their own umbrellas at any of those 18 beaches have to unfurl them in the specified 10 percent area, where umbrellas can also be hired.

On October 29, with the November high season just days away, Phuket's new beach policies will be locked in . . . 16 months after the military cleared all commerce from Phuket's public beaches.

Phuket's Governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada, signed the 10 percent order yesterday, and today's meeting of about 30 authorities at the offices of the Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation clarified a few points.

Police claim the 10 percent use of the beach is illegal, but a response from the Land Titles Office in December says the idea is legal - provided nobody makes any personal profit from it. Police are likely to have to enforce it.

Vice Governor Chokdee Amornwat said he had been chosen to head the beach committee because the vast majority of his experience has been in the north of Thailand, not the south.

He said he had been boning up on the recommendations made by a team of researchers from Prince of Songkhla University about what should happen on Phuket's beaches.

Details would be discussed at another meeting on Thursday, then inspections would be held at all 18 of Phuket's beaches next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, with all decisions to be formalised on October 29.

An announcement of all new rules would be made then to tourists and other stakeholders - with the high season due to begin on November 1.

Phuketwan believes the 10 percent rule could work at less popular beaches but has little hope of working at Patong, Kamala, Nai Harn and Kata.

Beachgoers should be able to bring their own sunbeds, chairs and umbrellas and sit anywhere, as they can at the world's best beaches.

Comments

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Very astute political move. When it becomes obvious that the 10% rule is unworkable, the previous governor will be blamed, not the present one.

Posted by Sir Burr on October 20, 2015 14:31

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I am a little surprised. I thought (perhaps misunderstood) that the new Governor wanted to take a little time, look at the recommendations and then implement the new plans, whatever they may be. Seems a bit keen to stick with a plan that failed in the low season... less chance of it working in the high season in my opinion.

Posted by Duncan on October 20, 2015 14:52

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There's something fundamentally flawed about this 10% rule.

If the law says all commercial activity on the beach is banned, what on earth does that have to do with tourists bringing their own umbrellas, sunbeds or whatever ?

On what legal grounds can they be squeezed into just 10% of the beach ?

I can't believe the new governor, especially being a Phuket native, signed this order of infinite stupidity.

Posted by Herbert on October 20, 2015 15:15

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What is surprising (or maybe not) is that foolishness and silly rules continue to steer beach management. Such a simple solution, but it just escapes public officials. Stop managing the beach, and start enforcing rules about commerce on the beach...and relegate the obnoxious and dangerous jetskis to some miserable noisy and smelly jet ski park on the east coast.

Posted by Richard Vickers on October 20, 2015 15:18

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Msy be itbis possible to publish full text of the order?

I am curious about wording of these norms and their cobdrqwuent interpretation, and on the basis of what law the order is made.

Actually, I failed to identify the legal nprms that (a) set a specific status of publc land to beaches(or at least coastal areas) - it is neither in Land Code or Civil and Commercial Code ,so probably
y buried in some derivative legal act (b) what particular features are of that pubic land of beaches? There are various categories of land that aggregately called "publication c land", as per Land Code,each had a specific set of rules on its use eyc.,but beaches are obviously under some other crules defined in some other act.

Many references have been made to that special status of coastal strios,but to understand that status and what authorities can/should do about those aread,it would be good to see the original law.
Hopefully Governor's order refers to that.

My suspicion that if looked closely those norms may appear too vague,and probably
in need to be modernized both in regstd of details and some up to date beach management issues,that it would not leave local authorities in a legal(and competence) vacuum,and give them already prescribed directions about usual aspects of beach life - sunbeds, umbrellas,watersports,vendors," beach travel agencies" and other businesses, ecological aspect, more detailed rules of beach space for vatious purposes etc.

Posted by Sue on October 20, 2015 16:32

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Is VG Chokdee really "boning up" over the recommendations?

Posted by Hugh Jarse on October 20, 2015 17:14

Editor Comment:

Only two suggestions in the dictionary:

1: to try to master necessary information quickly : cram <bone up for the exam>
2: to renew one's skill or refresh one's memory <boned up on the speech just before giving it>

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I had booked my holiday in Phuket from 6/11 to 6/4 in 2016 with the hope that we could have beds on the beach. Now I cancel my booking losing even the money of the advance. After 10 years finished my holidays in Phuket.

Posted by Gigi on October 20, 2015 17:54

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Gigi

actually very good news indeed! , because Phuket is simply overcrowded.

Nothing personal of course but fewer touists arriving to Phuket would make me merrier and happier.

Posted by Sue on October 20, 2015 18:55

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Pretty much the same definition as "honing-up" then Ed, but without the giggle factor?

Posted by Hugh Jarse on October 20, 2015 19:24

Editor Comment:

There's ''honing'' and ''boning up,'' Hugh Jarse. Both legitimate English language terms. We're serious people. We'll leave the giggling to others.

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So far the 10% beach zoning didn't work, simply it needs full time enforcement by having full time authority delegates at all beaches.

And why again not a single word about zoning parasailing, and keep the jet skies of the sand? ( previously granted by chief of Phuket Marine 5 office)

Again something fishy restarts again.
Back to page one of the beach book.

Posted by Kurt on October 20, 2015 19:28

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Sure less tourists will make it possible for foreign Cheap Charlies, to get accommodation for almost nothing, very good hi hi.

Posted by Sherlock on October 20, 2015 19:59

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Sherlock

it seems you miss on segmenting of tourism market and what are the needs of a particular segment:

in general in respect of beach holidays for a lower end of the market the king is a price, so that group is ready to suffer almost whatever poor service and other inconveniences, incl. huge crowds. And this model of business that serves this segment works mostly only with big numbers - only when hordes and crowds of tourists descends there.

For segments up, where price is increasingly less important factor, and certainly, not a single decisive factor, large crowds at beach holiday destination is simply direct deterrent.
I myself never went on holiday on Phuket , as even more than 10 years ago when it was too crowded for my concept of beach holidays.
Long stay is a different concept to short-term visit.

Phuket simply progressively unable to attract higher segment of markets because of ever growing crowds alone.
And crowds are only growing in size, thus attractiveness for higher segments of tourism market is only diminishing.

Yes, those alike urban tropical setting will be delighted, yes, there are people who go to Sentosa with a main goal of beach holiday, and pay 500-1000USD per night for a regular room.

But Phuket now is neither Sentosa is. nor a attractive beach destination for people who have a choice.

Posted by Sue on October 20, 2015 20:36

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Sue:"what particular features are of that pubic land of beaches?"
Are you talking about 'nude beaches' or PUBLIC? Zoning = hair today, gone tomorrow...

Posted by Sue Yu on October 20, 2015 20:55

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It seems that the only purpose in keeping the 10% rule around is to distract people from asking why the governor isn't putting a complete stop to jet-skis and parasails.

If conducting business on the beaches is illegal, what's the confusion?

Restricting public use of a public beach makes no sense to anyone.

Want natural beaches with no chairs? You also need to clear the jet-skis.

Want to please tourists? Give them freedom to use public areas without being harassed and run over by jet-skis and parasailers. Plus shade is a basic health requirement for many visitors.

Neither option will be easy. But doing something well, often isn't easy. That's why they call it work.

Posted by Steve on October 20, 2015 21:46

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Sue hope that one day, hopefully not far away, you can enjoy alone all Phuket.

Posted by Gigi on October 21, 2015 01:50

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Gigi,

when Phuket beaches will feel as if you're there alone,i.e. clearly beyond visibilty of fellow tourists, then price tag can be attached within the range 1,000-3,000USD per night.
However it will make destination affotdable to upper mddlr class and above.

With 92,000 hotel rooms, not counting rentals ,and average load factor 70%-90% ,there are simply too many tourists on Phuket. If 10% of them simultaneously would appear on the beach and request a sunbed,it will require 18,000 sunbeds - it is 3-5 rows of sunbeds on every beach at the West coast.

Assuming a sunbed is 1m wide,and there are 1m distance between them on both sides, it would require 2m of beach for each sunbedv- in a single roe,it is 36km - it is much more than agreggate length of all swimming beaches of Phuket.

And 1m on both sides it is still sardine-like effect.

So as you clearly see nature of Phuket needs less tourists and it is simply possible to give every tourist a sunbed,especially when number of tourists only growing.

Indeed,why to come to Phuket,not other plsve? There are still plenty of them.

Posted by Sue on October 21, 2015 06:28

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I usually like to get honed then boned Thank You !

Posted by Zig on October 21, 2015 09:48

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its all a joke. the new governor will simply do his job and get rid of the jet skis and the damn parasailers so everyone can use the public beach in peace ... sit where ever they want and enjoy the day without being scared for life or forced to run away not to be beheaded . than Phuket becoming what it are, one of the most popular beach in the world... high season is up folks...

Posted by frog on October 21, 2015 11:32

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Most people understand the tourism market, which can be seen on various comments on local news sites.

Unfortunately the people, who are in charge of the beaches have another point of view, which are shared with a few farangs, who don't have to live of tourism.

Can only hope, that this minority not will success in ruin the existence of the entire working population on Phuket's west coast.

Posted by Sherlock on October 21, 2015 11:40

Editor Comment:

The beach belongs to all Thais, Sherlock. Even those who live in Isarn.

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Only for your information Sue my wife and I were staying at the Meridien annually. Now go ahead your maths

Posted by Gigi on October 21, 2015 11:46

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God for Thai Air,not so many Tourist from Europe moustly from China,and they love whaterjet and parasail and cheapfood,god for patong buissnes

Posted by El marinero on October 21, 2015 12:46

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Gigi,
Can we have one more clue?

Posted by MoW on October 21, 2015 14:59

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Exactly, therefore the Isarn people should be asked if they prefer beautiful empty Phuket beaches or income from the Isarn youngsters, who normally work in the tourist sector on Phuket in high season.

Posted by Sherlock on October 21, 2015 17:18

Editor Comment:

Working is banned on public beaches, Sherlock. Anywhere else is fine.

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Its an empting ravel destination where even the signs are suffering from the less 10% rule.

Sue, did you have anything to do with the manufacture of that sign?

Posted by MoW on October 21, 2015 18:43

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How is 10% meant to work in practice? For example on a 500m beach is it 50m in one block or 2 blocks of 25m? Or 5 blocks of 10m each? Etc etc. And what happens on a 5 km beach like Bangtao? Who decides if the 500m (10% ) is to be allocated and how?

Posted by Bamboozled on October 22, 2015 12:18

Editor Comment:

And the most silly part is that 10 percent of a beach at high tide is nowhere near 10 percent of a beach at low tide.

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Still, would like to see the full text of that order,and also find out a full text of provisions of the law about use of beach strips.

I bit doubt that all what articulated by authorities about beach rules is put in ofgicial writing ,as it could be against that beach law by substance,and also I doubt whether have enough delegated authority to legislate on such matters - giving very complex weeb of split authority between Central and various levels of local governments,it I'd easy to make even bona fide mistake.


Just remember,there is not a single administrative general order by Marine Office 5 that regulates jetski in writing - they did admitted that no regulation at all,still they often went local about different things like which beaches jetskis are allowed and on which not,which appeared simply informal agrrement between market players on the geographical split of commercial interests, that is informally endorsed and enforced by MO5.

Posted by Sue on October 22, 2015 15:52

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Rush to what make it more impossible and unworkable offending their bread an butter cash cow being vacation tourists while jet skis and parasailing endanger the beaches unabated with no monitoring controls whatsoever serious injuries and deaths are
highly likely but rearranging deckchairs is there 100 percent priority in this twisted logic.

Posted by slickmelb on October 26, 2015 15:29


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