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Phuket's Mayors Leave 10 Percent Umbrellas, Beach Chair Ban to Governor

Wednesday, February 18, 2015
PHUKET: Most of the mayors who oversee Phuket's west coast beaches have declined to comment on the beach chair ban or the requirement for all opened umbrellas to be confined to a ''10 percent zone.''

The mayors who spoke to Phuketwan today deferred to Phuket Governor, Nisit Jansomwong, and said they did not wish to confuse the issue.

This afternoon the Kathu authorities who oversee Patong beach are due to meet with Vice Governor Suthee Tongyam to endorse the new rules for tourists now being applied along Phuket's west coast beaches.

Resort managers and others in the industry are fearful that Australian and European beachgoers on Phuket will be driven away by the controls proposed for all of the international holiday island's beaches.

All beach chairs are being banned, which means Phuket's most loyal holidaymakers are likely to seek alternative destinations. Mostly veterans and regular visitors to Phuket, the Germans, French and Italians kept coming despite the ban on sunbeds. Instead, they adapted by buying their own beach chairs.

The authorities have yet to make plain whether the total ban on beach chairs also applies to chairs used at Patong's shorefront cafes, by jet-ski operators and by masseuses who also braid hair and polish toenails.

The 10 percent rule suits mat and umbrella hirers at Patong, who are doing a thriving business even though sunbeds remain banned. With the hiring of mats and umbrellas now allowed again, it's difficult to understand why sunbeds remain banned.

The military cleared Phuket's beaches of all commercial activity - with the exception of jet-skis and parasail speedboats - after taking control of Thailand last year.

For a time, beachgoers were allowed to bring their own small personal umbrellas, mats and chairs and use them anywhere on the beaches.

However, the governor's commitment to restore commerce has led to tourists being still allowed to bring a personal umbrella, but only allowed to use it with approval in the 10 percent zone.

Combined with the total ban on tourists using beach chairs, the new rules represent some of the world's most rigid controls on beachgoers. Some tourists have shown their contempt for the rules by continuing to use their own beach chairs.

Police at Patong have issued warnings to tourists on beach chairs but have so far shown reluctance to remove the chairs and arrest and fine the tourists.

The 10 Percent Rule on Phuket's Beaches


Mayor Ma-Ann Samran

Beaches: Surin, Layan, Laypang, Laem Singh, Bang Tao and Pansea.

''We have about 20 beach vendors who have their annual permission reviewed every June. They are entitled to sell ice cream, water, juice and beach balls but no substantial meals. I believe Phuket is not suffering any tourist downturn. The resorts are full. I have been asked to leave all comment on the 10 percent plan to the governor.''


Mayor Aroon Soros

Beaches: Nai Harn, Ao Sane, Racha Island, Laem Ka, Ya Nui.

''I believe the numbers of tourists on the beaches are decreasing. This is not because of the 10 percent policy but because of the economy in Thailand. We have about 50-60 masseuses in the area with umbrellas allowed only in the 10 percent zone and no beach vendors permitted.''


Mayor Tawee Tongcham

Beaches: Karon, Kata, Kata Noi, Relax Bay.

''I don't have a comment on the 10 percent plan. It's an idea that comes from the Governor of Phuket.''

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Well Editor you got your way - you campaigned for the removal of all and there you go - now kiss tourism goodbye.

Posted by BeHIp on February 18, 2015 11:54

Editor Comment:

PW has never campaigned for the removal of the umbrellas and sunbeds. Nobody figured it was ever going to happen. We were pleasantly surprised, though, when the military acted and removed most private enterprises from Phuket's public beaches and foreshores. The problem appears to be in preventing the return of the profit-makers. Strange decisions are being made.

Your memory appears to be severely defective, BeHip. Best seek attention quick before it goes entirely.

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I think the governor should only be paid 10% of his wages and donate the rest to charity as he is making phuket lose a lot of tourists and money

Posted by Mr Wolf on February 18, 2015 12:01

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PW never campaigned for the removal of umbrellas and sunbeds, but you supported it 100%. My memory is not perfect, but when i read comments from Ed such as:"The days of the lotus-eating layabouts are over".Or:"I suspect the people who ''won't come without sunbeds'' will quickly change their minds or be replaced by others who enjoy the beautiful beaches, almost the way nature intended".And: "Early feedback indicates more tourists are coming than ever, and the noisy minority making a fuss will not be missed. Just like those sunbeds".The profit makers are still in full action, and despite what you said,tourism is not increasing due to these silly rules.We do not have to ask our self those repeated questions again, like: who make up these rules? Why do they not think of the future? Thailand,with all due respect, has lost it's "magic".

Posted by Carl on February 18, 2015 13:14

Editor Comment:

Thank you. PW supports natural beaches free from commerce and a policy that allows tourists to bring their own umbrellas and chairs and plant them anywhere on the beach. What's happening now is not a policy we endorse.

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Can farang, despite not being citizens, make citizen arrests to help enforcing the law and once and for all get rid of these foreign unlawful beach chair sitters?

Posted by RoboCop on February 18, 2015 13:16

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Just ban the pesky tourists, it's the only next logical step in this nonsense. Erect big fences along all the beaches so we can't get onto them, that will sort it out once and for all.

Posted by Amazing Thailand on February 18, 2015 13:52

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"Mostly veterans and regular visitors to Phuket, the Germans, French and Italians kept coming despite the ban on sunbeds."
That is because the majority were committed to coming having booked flights and accommodation before the ban was announced and enforced. It was also before it and the resultant outcry were publicised beyond Phuket and before visitors returned home ith words of discouragement instead of encouragement to friends and relatives thinking of coming. As has been said before it will be the forthcoming Low and High Season numbers that will show if all th stay aways will actually do so. My view for what it's worth os thuket will suffer more proporionatley than other provinces who seem to be acting with a great deal more common sense.

Posted by Alan on February 18, 2015 15:21

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For the next season, I'm sure that will be sunbeds are available again. The difference, tourists can not bring there own and the rent will be the double price. On more space than this 10 percent.And every beach vendors are happy. The tourists? Who cares this?

Posted by steve on February 18, 2015 16:17

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This is worse than a 'no smoking' ban or being allowed to smoke in certain areas only. [I'm a non smoker] There was quite considerable confusion among my smoking friends as to what, where & when they could indulge their habit. This is even harder to fathom.

Posted by Logic on February 18, 2015 16:57

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I've been here for 5 days now and I must say it is a nightmare on the beach. Kata beach looked very pretty the last years, with 2 max. 3 rows of sunbeds, enough space for beach walkers and runners. No problem to play football with some guys without disturbing anybody. Now it is anarchy. The beach occupied, walkers and runners are zigzagging. Ends of cigarettes all over the beach, accompanied by plastic bottles, cans and plastic bags. There are some poor fellows who search for plastic bottles and cans, but the rest...
The upper part under the palms and trees and half the way to the water covered with needles and leaves. The concrete stairs either vanished or unstable due to high tides I guess. Parts of the stairs can be found on the beach itself, so be carefull while walkig, you might break a toe when stepping agains it.
To all people who recently said: the beaches will again be counted as the best beaches in the world: hahahahahaha, it is digusting and has nothing to do "best beaches" at all.
Yesterday at Layang beach:
2 sunbeads, 1 umbrella- 300 baht, this is twice as much as I paid 3 years ago.
Some hundred meters south, maybe bangtao already, 200 baht for a far more pleasant piece of beach.
I'see what surprises and changes the next two weeks will bring. Obviously this story is one big misunderstanding.

Posted by Bregoulou on February 18, 2015 17:58

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@Steve. Next season we will need only 9 beach chairs. Tourist nr. 10 can go swimming... i'm afraid all this negative new's world wide will backfire to Thai Tourism. I stop writing in here. I prefer freedom of speech without fear for prosecution and better spend my time in informing overseas what ridiculous efforts are made by the government here... I'm one of those who can due to a disablity not go (sit) at/on the beach anymore.... I need sun protection and a decent chair.... So Governor Nisit (my hero of last week) thanks.

Posted by phuketgreed on February 18, 2015 18:23

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Yes, totally agree, Alan. As with the Russians who were more or less forced to go ahead with their prepaid holidays but many of whom, according to the property 'experts' here, were obliged to cut their holidays short due to the falling ruble. And I'm not sure if the translation of 'You cannot smoke on the beaches but you can drink' is correct as the governor may have been alluding to non-alcoholic drinks only. Another 'misunderstanding'? 'Mai khao chai peet' seems to be the byword these days.

Posted by Sam Wilko on February 18, 2015 18:43

Editor Comment:

Not sure what this discussion is about. Probably best to discuss articles posted at other sites at other sites.

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@RoboCop

Private citizen can detain anyone who commits "flagrant offence":

"Section 79 A private citizen may not arrest another person, save where section 82 is satisfied or where the person in question commits a flagrant offence and such offence is one of those listed in the Schedule hereto annexed.(Table of contents)

Section 80 A person who is in the very act of committing or is discovered under the circumstances whereby it could be decidedly concluded that he has just committed an offence commits a flagrant offence.

However, when any person who falls under one of the following items has committed any of the offences listed in the Schedule hereto annexed, he shall be deemed to commit a flagrant offence:

(1) The person being engaged in fresh pursuit with hutesium et clamor.

(2) The person being discovered almost immediately following the commission of the offence in the vicinity of the offence scene, and carrying with him an article obtained through the offence or a weapon or other object which is manifestly believed to have been used in the commission, or with visible traces of the guilt on his dress or body."

Still the question remains whether sitting on his own beach chair on the beach consititues criminally punishable offence :D

Posted by Sue on February 19, 2015 01:13

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@Logic

I also fail to see that beaches are under total/partial smoking ban, as Public Health ministry Regulation, that defines such public places - the latest version to my knowledge is of 2010,
http://goo.gl/erGtRa
doesn't explicitly mention beaches:
either in Total Ban category
"3.Public places where people use together"-"(3.1) Exercise grounds, fields, and sports venues;" -"(3.1.2) Places for exercise, practicing sports, playing sports, or sports
competitions of all kinds, both indoor and outdoor;" - but I am not sure at all that it is about general purpose beaches,

and there is nothing even close in regard of beaches that falls under the Partial Ban items.

Non-Smoker's Health Protection Act
http://goo.gl/ENEQiq
Section 4(1) and 4(2) gives to the Ministry exclusive right to define places where total/partial ban is applicable, so any municipal authorities simply do not have competence here to introduce any rules.

Posted by Sue on February 19, 2015 03:34

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Sue, I think RoboCop was joking.

I don't believe a citizen would any any rights of restraint, other than the ability to report, for an infraction or petty offence usually dealt with by way of a fine.

Posted by Manowar on February 19, 2015 09:06

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@Manowar

That's Whit I said, that I don't find using own beach chair even pettiest of offendes.

But who knows, it could be prescribed like criminal charges in the some ip unknown to me law..

Then it would work like described.

Posted by Sue on February 19, 2015 10:41


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