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Phuket Tourists are Screaming and Crying on Beaches, Says Police Commander
Friday, February 27, 2015
PHUKET: Police complained today that they are not represented in the committees designated by Phuket's Governor to oversee introduction of new Phuket beach regulations.
''Tourists are screaming, crying,'' the island's top cop, Commander Major General Pachara Boonyasit, said. ''They do not want to be told that they cannot bring their own beach chairs.
''They say the police are damaging the tourist industry in Thailand. But we have to do what your policy says.''
The commander said it was police officers who were being left to enforce the new regulations - but they were unrepresented on the committees now looking at the rules. The committees for each district include local politicians, administrators, umbrella vendors, masseuses, resort managers - but not police.
''How can it be that the police do not have a say?'' the major general asked Governor Nisit Jansomwong.
Tourists and their representatives, the honorary consuls of Phuket, have also not been consulted in the present experiment aimed at devoting 10 percent of beach space to umbrellas, mats and services.
Complaints are expected from European ambassadors who have been inundated with messages from angry tourists, complaining about what's happened on Phuket's beaches.
Today Governor Nisit said he would be away next week attending the ITB Berlin travel fair but on March 9, the first full day back on the job on Phuket, he would inspect every beach on the holiday island to make sure the new regulations have been imposed.
Earlier, Major General Pachara made the point that the 10 percent ruling was not clear-cut, and that police continued to have problems enforcing the governor's edict.
The lack of English language skills by police and lack of English by many of the veteran European tourists still bringing their own beach chairs to Patong and other beaches made enforcement difficult, he said.
Police were not keen to venture onto the beaches and looked out for what was happening from the roads - or in the case of Patong, from their motorcycles on the footpath.
In a much-criticised move, Governor Nisit has banned tourists from bringing their own beach chairs and umbrellas.
At virtually all of the world's great public beaches, swimmers are able to bring their own equipment and sit wherever they wish.
At Phuket's beaches, tourists are being forced to sit in special zones. At Patong especially, jet-ski and speedboat parasailers have taken over large stretches of what was once one of the island's finest swimming beaches.
All commercial activity was cleared from Phuket's beaches soon after the military took control in Thailand last year, restoring use of the public space to Thais and tourists.
However, in a compromise, the governor has allowed the private profit-takers to return at 10 percent of each beach - and regimented what tourists can and can't do.
The governor even believes the jet-skis and parasails have a considerable following even though polls in local newspapers consistently show the vast majority of visitors and residents want them banned.
The jet-skis and speedboats were to be phased out over seven years until the present governor's predecessors compromised and broke that promise.
Today, veteran tourists are deserting Phuket fast because they are being told what to do on the beaches they once loved.
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If the tourists don't abide by the rules and bring their own chairs instead of using the shade of the trees very quickly the commercial chairs and cushions will come back and we will be in the exact situation we have known for years, beach vista destroyed.
February 27, 2015 17:35
Why would anybody put up with this ongoing farce? Being told where to sit and what you can bring to the beach? It's puerile nonsense. Tourism is supposed to be a service based industry where people pay to be taken care of, not ripped off and treated like children.
These officials cannot get these simple things sorted so what the hell are they doing going on tax payer funded junkets to Europe for? It's clear they are clueless what tourists want or need.
February 27, 2015 17:42
Plenty of beach chairs and table set up for hire on the beach outside the Muslim Cemetry in Kamala about 40 minutes ago. Ice chests and BBQs on the go as well.
February 27, 2015 17:43
It gives me no satisfaction to say that some veteran tourists have been predicting this desertion for several months. Many would not have visited this year if they had not already paid for their flights and hotels.
February 27, 2015 18:48
I will arrive end of April again there. I have no hotel reservation so far and if by then the situation is the same, i will leave the island at once and don't come back again. Forbidding umbreallas on a beach is ridiculous andI don't support such acts of stupidity in my holidays
February 27, 2015 19:07
maybe electric fences could help to clear the beaches from these impertinent complaining tourists
February 27, 2015 19:24
My guest that it is a part of strategy :
to bring utter desperation,
then - quirk quick turnaround to pre-June '14 situation "we told you so"
First who tried this was Ma-Ann who told no vendors whatever are allowed to Surin - whatever vendir, no no no.
February 27, 2015 19:32
Governor is not letting any sand fight ruin his travel plans but if he receives a cool reception in Berlin might be a wake up call that diplomatic are not all sunshine and lollipops maybe they will present him with a fine quality umbrella in Germany at the trade fair as a memento.
February 27, 2015 19:36
What is the easiest: To replace all tourists or replace one governor?
February 27, 2015 19:44
I agree sherlock.
All stakeholders need to be at the table, police and tourists too.
You cant get the police to enforce this, its just impossible!
Who wants to enforce this? The idea of a compromise is good, but this is the wrong formula.
What to do:
Give the tourists freedom, make everyone happy and increase the quality of tourist experiences. That should be the bottom line.
Gov Nisit, please don't dictate rules and laws and bylaws to tourists, they dont give a hoot because they can go where they please -- spending their time and money where they please.
February 27, 2015 21:09
Better screaming and crying than the alternative..
February 27, 2015 23:11
I thought the sand was supposed to be on the beaches, not between the ears of these dimwitted officials making ridiculous rulings.
I was in Phuket for 3 days last week & saw little evidence of improvement apart from some empty beaches, but more evidence of everyone trying to rip off the few remaining people trying to move around the island.
I passed through Patong mid afternoon & could barely get through the masses of tuk tuks everywhere. Took a short walk down Soi Bangla & was bombarded by time share touts of every nationality, quite openly & brazenly blocking the pavements.
Jungeceylon has ever more property counters trying to sell off little portions of paradise to the few punters left. I am surprised there is anything left to sell.
So so sad!
February 27, 2015 23:13
Surely the Police have better things to do like combating real crime in Phuket rather than watching Farangs sitting in beach chairs all day? Ya think?
February 28, 2015 00:32
I am nearly 64. I can lay on the sand and need no umbrellas. I do not want waterskies/-scooters and paragliders on the beaches. I wish to keep clear Phuket beaches. BUT many eldery and veterans want a form of sunbeds and umbrellas. And they NEED. My suggestion: Keep any kind of waterscooters and paragliders away from all beaches at Phuket exept one. Only at one beach this activity should be allowed. Just find the best. Allow 2 rows of sunbeds/umbrellas at some beaches, and keep other beaches 100% free from that. Kata Noi Beach 50 sunbeds, Kata Beach 200 sunbeds, Karon, 600 sunbeds, Patong Beach 2000. All other beaches should be free of sunbeds/umbrellas. All kind of water activities including a motor should be advised to only ONE beach. Kamala or Surin. And may only occuppie 10% of the beach.
February 28, 2015 06:44
why don't the police just ignore these 'laws'.. they seem to manage to do so with many traffic laws..
February 28, 2015 07:46
I left Patong last week after a three week stay. I usually stay for 4 months. Governor, you just lost half a million baht in income for Patong from me alone. How much more are you willing to lose because you have made me, and all other tourists, unwelcome in Patong?
February 28, 2015 10:16
I guess things will not that strict at the beaches as the police lost face and got insulted by left out at a large 'authority' meeting.
Anyway, all this farce are personal' rules', not 'laws'. The police has to enforce laws, which of many they don't enforce, see todays illegal parking of tuk-tuks in Patong.( and there will be for sure more not enforced what we not know, not see.) The police sure not bother about rules who change day after day and just make the tourist screaming.
February 28, 2015 10:43
The reality of course is that the authorities & many local business people believe that if YOU don't come there are plenty of other tourists lining up to take your place. They will say this is evidenced by the huge queues at the airport.
Of course they pay no attention to the fact that Phuket has been in a race to the bottom over the past few years, with one target group of tourists replaced by another target group - each succeeding group of course being further down the socio economic (& behaviour) scale.
February 28, 2015 12:53
Indeed. The governor is plainly listening to to local money and greed when the real money people - the European tourists - are about to take the hint and go elsewhere.
The underlying fact of this whole problem is: There are far too many tourist coming here for the island to handle safely, and of the wrong kind too. So the Governor's action really are to the point, restrict the number of tourists!
February 28, 2015 19:07
That will be an accidental outcome, Guenter. Unfortunately, there is no clear strategy.
tourists are more and more get ripped of by Thai Govermant, police and all the taxi maffia. And the standard double pricing for westeners.
The fun is gone, realy gone but nobody care's.
Hope the goverment wil deal the real problems in Thailand because it wil be sad for the many hard working Thai who trie to make a normal living from the tourists.
February 28, 2015 21:24
@Ed: I don't believe what i'm reading here. Do you actually agree with another_overseas_scot? Because i can clearly remember that you wrote: It's time for change; out with the old, welcome to the new tourist. The tourist that loves nature. The Europeans ( such as the Swedish ) love the nature. Your words. And you accused many of your readers for being doomsayers. In an article on 24 August 2014, you even said that the doomsayers were in the past, as change was inevitable. And look at your reaction now. Do you finally come to the realization that not even the army could save your favorite Phuket? Are these so called lotus eating layabouts now suddenly important to you as well? Change has happened, as you predicted, but to what sacrifice?
February 28, 2015 23:24
We didn't say that change would always be for the better, only that it is inevitable. More changes will come. The foreshores have been cleared of illegal businesses. Mistakes are being made on the beaches.
I'm glad. Next season i have the beaches for myself. Lonely beaches, that's what everyone wants. The greedy people will be quieter. It is a slow change.
March 1, 2015 08:13
Me and my children have vacationed in Patong the last 5 years . This will now be ending , as long as you maintain their ridiculous 10 percent rule . Unfortunately tickets for this year already paid and hotels ordered , but next year it will be elsewhere in asia for me and my family. I 'm sure Malaysia , Vietnam, or Cambodia welcome us with loungers and umbrellas ..... and that you and your comrades are losing more than 500,000 bath every year - without us .... Good luck in the future Governor.
March 2, 2015 11:34
Does the Governor publicize a website and/or Any form of social media for tourists to complain to?
July 5, 2015 08:10
The governor and the damrungtam (complaints) office are the best place to report problems. Best to go in person to the damrungtam at Phuket Provincial Hall or drop a letter in the post box outside the Governor's House.
Patrician, I guess the question to ask is, do any tourists know where to complain, or in fact who to. AS most know by their name the "Tourist" police would be the "logical" ones to go to, but in most cases they side with the very people the tourists would be complaining about. Change will come.... some day, way down the track, probably when so many business', and corrupt authorities, realise they are losing so much "income."
July 5, 2015 12:43