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Management of Phuket's beaches will be the new governor's top priority

Saving Phuket Beaches 'Brave' Priority

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
PHUKET: Action to save Phuket's beaches all over again is expected as soon as new governor Jamleran Tipayapongtada takes charge later this week.

Phuketwan has learned that a strong lobby group is keen to see a strategy implemented quickly - and that strategy is likely to remove municipal councils from all say in control of the beaches.

The move will probably also end the ''10 percent solution'' proposed by departing governor Nisit Jansomwong.

He gave the island a possible solution to its high-fares taxi monopoly with GrabTaxi but compromised on the clearance of commerce from the beaches.

Unless commerce is completely removed, the ''entitlement'' of local businesses that abused public ownership for decades will never cease.

Interestingly, the governor gave each of his three vice governors a role in overseeing a district to fix the beaches problem.

The three vice governors are departing with Governor Nisit. It could, of course, just be a coincidence.

Incoming Governor Jamleran was known for taking a firm stand on beach businesses as a vice governor before he left Phuket a year ago.

He's the man who coined Phuketwan's motto, ''Brave Enough to Change.''

His well-known attitude is likely to reinforce the findings of researchers from Phuket's Prince of Songkhla University, who suggested replacing councils with an independent committee of stakeholders, including the Royal Thai Navy and police.

Phuketwan has long proposed an independent Phuket Beach Authority. The committee idea from the university researchers draws the same conclusion.

Removing the councils from the equation is essential because they have always been influenced by voters and local business.

It is the voters (ie local businesses) who for decades have driven the illegal use of the holiday island's beaches and shorefronts for private profit.

The ''10 percent'' rule, which allows umbrellas and mats to be hired in only one tenth of the area of each beach, could work at some beaches some of the time.

But it's a recipe for disaster during high season at Patong and other popular beaches.

As experience has shown, one row of umbrellas leads to two, two lead to three . . . and eventually, once a Phuket beach is covered in umbrellas, greedy entrepreneurs start shifting their restaurants and beach clubs onto the foreshores and the sands.

What Governor Jamleran probably already realises is that Phuket is not a province where compromises work. Compromises on Phuket lead directly to corruption.

The time has come to take a firm stand on the beaches by continuing the military's good work in clearing commerce from public spaces.

It may take a few years to undo the false assumption of the past few decades that public spaces can be used for private profit.

But the local residents do not ''own'' Phuket's beaches. They belong to all of Thailand, they're a national natural asset, and they must be protected and maintained for the enjoyment of future generations of Thais and tourists.

Allowing tourists to bring their own beach chairs and umbrellas works at most good beaches around the world and would also work on Phuket.

We know that Governor Jamleran also understands that most Phuket residents and at least three in every four tourists do not think having jet-skis take over Patong and other beaches is a good idea.

Like the neighboring provinces of Phang Nga and Krabi, Phuket should ban them as soon as possible.

The seven-year phase-out proposed in 2002 failed because governors failed to keep the promises of their predecessors.

Governor Jamleran should aim to get rid of them within three years.

One of the governor's new vice governors, Prajiad Aksornthammakul, 59, has previous Phuket experience in his current role, as senior Phuket administrative officer.

Chokdee Amornwat comes from Bangkok and Kajornkiat Rakpanitmanee, 50, is chief officer in Supanburi province.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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if the 7 year phase out of jet skiis didn't work why would the 3 year phase out program work?

Posted by Anonymous on September 30, 2015 11:39

Editor Comment:

Because it could be carried out under one or two governors, not four or five.

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Let's wait and see what happens before dreaming about change. The damage has been done for many who won't return to Phuket. The clogged roads, dirty beaches and surly attitudes won't change and the natural beauty of Phuket has long been destroyed. I guess if you want a low quality, over priced suit sold by a greasy handed, smart arse tout, then Phuket is still the place to go.

Posted by Arun Muruga on September 30, 2015 13:02

Editor Comment:

You're such a doomstayer, AM.

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Well as a doomsayer I'd say I'm in the majority. Let's have a look at a few of the issues where reform has been promised for years and see.

Jetski phaseout - total failure
Jetski scams crackdown - total failure
taxi reform - total failure
Bus system from airport to beaches - total failure
Removal of resorts encroaching national park - deafening silence
Flood prevention - total failure
Water management - total failure
Rubbish management - total failure
Removal of tuk tuks from public parking spaces - total failure
Control of tuk tuk price gouging - total failure

Add in the failure to prosecute corrupt officials rounded up by the army for assorted scams and schemes, the Colin Vard and Ian Rance fraud cases going nowhere and I'd say the doomsayers have a good case.

Posted by Arun Muruga on September 30, 2015 15:17

Editor Comment:

Yes, for moving.

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@ Arun: If your a doomsayer then you're part of a very big club; it's simply that most of us have left for better parts of Thailand. Nothing wrong with Thailand; only Phuket has these unique problems in capitals.

Posted by Logic on September 30, 2015 16:11

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@ Arun - you forgot one thing on your list.

Removing of popular sunbeds - total success.

Posted by Sherlock on September 30, 2015 18:13

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@Ed

AM and Logic are of course quite correct - no "doomsayers" but people giving honest feedback on Phuket.

So many have left already and many more will follow for sure - even your good self I believe

Thailand as a whole remains a beautiful place - but Phuket is a pit of corruption and failure, no matter how hard you try to paint a positive picture.

Posted by Discover Thainess on September 30, 2015 19:36

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And the clearance of beach bars and restaurants 90% success, but I miss the blue swimmer crab at the Lotus bangtao, and the reggae Bar....

Posted by sid on September 30, 2015 20:41

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@ Discover Thainess

Very well said. Fully agree with you.

Posted by Herbert on September 30, 2015 21:31

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on the pic above lifeguard sorting out beach mats :)

being a lifeguard on some beaches was a tool to control (and own) watersport business.

obviously what we see above is smth. like that

Posted by Sue on September 30, 2015 21:59

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Many of the comments here may be correct, but it will not stop my love of Phuket or my constant visits. Maybe it needs a big shake up, and all the "doomstayers" leaving to turn it around. It will turn. There is so much more to Phuket than Patong. Not everyone believes the beach changes are bad, and the only real issue on the beaches are the jetskis. That will have to change eventually, as it has elsewhere. As long as there is so many beautiful places there will always be people who want to come. Seems to be the "long term stayers" who are unhappy. My suits made in Patong are quality and good value, The beaches we visit are clean and enjoyable (Do not go to Patong beach) and the myriad of eating options a treat. Even Bangla Rd should be seen for what it is, a window on excess that everyone visits a time or two. No I will not give up on Phuket and can't wait to get back.

Posted by Davemc60 on October 1, 2015 05:25

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@Herbert, thank you

@sue, quite agree - lifeguards should be spending their time saving lives, not making money from beach mats! Can you imagine the lifeguards at Bondi beach behaving like that? Just shows what Phuket has become

So sad

I wish the new governor every success in clearing up this mess. If he can be successful he could turn around Phuket quickly and restore its image - thereby attracting back the high spending and longer staying tourists that we so desperately need.

Good luck sir, you have our support! Be Brave !

Posted by Discover Thainess on October 1, 2015 06:24

Editor Comment:

DT, you seem to forget that the lifeguards are saving more lives than ever before. It may be that there has been some compromise at beaches where staff can be found no other way than through hiring beach workers. Better, though, than having no guards at all and losing lives. The glass is actually half-full.

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(moderated)

Posted by david on October 1, 2015 07:42

Editor Comment:

Try to think 'constructive' and 'adding value', david. You must be as tired of put-downs and useless criticism as we all are.

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Ed

Please don't make assumptions - I never said that at all. What I would hate to hear is a tourist drowning because a life guard was distracted by renting out a mat which could well happen

And I thought you always state that compromise never works. How views change with time

Posted by Discover Thainess on October 1, 2015 15:24

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I hope sundbeds and umbrellas will come back to Phuket beaches. The goverment will see how many toruist that Phuket have lost becourse of the ban.
If they not solve this Before next dec - march i Think Phuket will be out as a holliday Place for many many years. western people want shade and a sunbed on holliday

Posted by Thomas on October 1, 2015 20:06

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Many people agree with you Thomas! Those who not agree leave in December.

Posted by popov on October 1, 2015 22:26

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@ Thomas.
I agree partial with you. However, the way is was with illegal thai umbrella and chair firms ( use public beach space, not pay taxes,etc) was not a good way to continue.
Now first has to be established a Beach Authority which has absolute authority at beaches, and has no links with local Obor Tor's. It much be a Beach Authority with power, other wise everything slips back to as it was in the past.
The fact that jet-ski 'firms' take over the beaches more and more proves that the local authorities are not the right people to be in charge of the beaches. As simple is that.

Posted by Kurt on October 2, 2015 10:05

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western people want shade and a sunbed on holliday

===

there will come not Western people, who don't need sunbed and umbreall on holiday.

andn their average spending per day per person is higher than by sunbed-neccessiating people coming from where the Sun is going down.

and number of paid nights by them, albeit in smaller fractions, as their stay in Kingdom are shorter due to regional character of their holiday trips,in aggregate is much higher than those arriving from the side of Sun behind the horizon.

giving the number of tourist the Phuket is experiencing, sunbeds simply don't fit their in at all

and number of visitors will only grow, at first place regional tourism, not long-haul

TAT forecast for the whole country is 50M tourists in 2050 vs. 28M this year.

Posted by Sue on October 2, 2015 11:31

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It looks like "falangs" are not welcome anymore in Phuket. Most of the "falangs" coming for a beach holiday will not accept, that they have to buy chairs and umbrellas for the family which they don't need after the holiday anymore. If only Asain tourists are welcome in Phuket, the beach cleanup can go on; they don't spend the holiday in the sand.

Posted by Alfred Keller on October 2, 2015 13:17

Editor Comment:

At this point, beachgoers cannot bring their own chairs and umbrellas.


Thursday December 9, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa

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