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Phuket tourists split over virgin beaches: Poll

PHUKET: The recent revelation by Phuket Governor Chockchai Dejamornthan that he will start taking steps to have all beaches in Phuket cleared of vendors and returned to “virgin” status has received a mixed reaction among expats and foreign visitors in an online poll by The Phuket News.

opinion, patong, tourism, environment, natural-resources, corruption, marine,

The Phuket News

Monday 14 November 2016, 10:09AM

More than 40% of respondents called for beach vendors to be allowed to return. Photo: The Phuket News / file
More than 40% of respondents called for beach vendors to be allowed to return. Photo: The Phuket News / file

Currently, the “10% zones” are the last bastions where vendors may work at selected beaches in Phuket, and were introduced by Phuket’s previous Governor, Chamroen Tipayapongtada.

However, the “beach rules” in Phuket specifically apply only in Phuket. The 10% rule does not apply anywhere else in Thailand, not even in Khao Lak, just one hour’s drive north of Phuket, or even on Phi Phi or elsewhere in across the bay in Krabi.

Gov Chockchai last month explained that his understanding was that local authorities had no legal right to allow any vendors on the beaches, and that he would have them removed.

To this, The Phuket News asked readers in an online poll, “Do you support Gov Chockchai’s plan to clear Phuket’s beaches of all vendors?”

The poll, which ran for two weeks, concluded at midnight last night as Phuket begins to enter its annual tourism high season.

Of note, 80% of respondents to the poll were expats or foreign visitors to Phuket.

Only 14% agreed with Gov Chockchai’s stance, voting “Yes, all beaches in Phuket should be clear of all vendors.”

However, a further 34% called for the Governor to “clear the beaches of vendors, but allow tourists to bring their own sun loungers.”

In contrast, 41% of respondents called for a return to Phuket’s past, voting, “No, allow vendors back on the beaches, which worked well for tourists for years.”

The current status of allowing vendors to occupy 10% of the beach at selected beaches gained the least support, with 12% of respondents voting, “No, leave the ‘10% rule’ in place – it is the best solution so far.”

To see the full poll results, click here.

If your preferred response was not available, feel free to express your opinion in the comments section below.

To see the results of our previous poll, which asked, “Is the Thai lottery worth playing?”, click here.

If you have a suggestion for a poll, email with “Poll suggestion” in the Subject line.



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Kurt | 16 November 2016 - 12:57:39

'Virgin Beaches' Phuket means:

No...: No chairs, no vendors, no beach cleaning, not waste water management.
YES:.  :Illegal chairs + umbrella's, illegal vendors, and free release of waste water from hotels, restaurants, laundries, including urine and faeces.

What was illegal until 2.5 years ago and banned, is back!
10% zones are by Governor declared 'unlawful', but not same time replaced by law full measures.
That created gap now of course is filling itselves up illegally.
Same same, but different. Money coffers were patient.
Here we see:  The future back to the past.

The Phuket News

skip | 15 November 2016 - 17:47:42

the reason the deck chairs and umbrellas were removed was the management at the te****aan were pocketing the money from the leasing of the areas on the beach. not one baht was invested in infrastructure and not one bant was paid in tax. the rich got richer and the poor got the picture.the money was said to be 150 mi***on baht ++ annualy on pa***g beach alone.unfortunately the tourists are not happy and they are talking with their feet and going elsewhere. expats accepted phuket as it was when they came here, phuket is for tourism. everyone has an opinion but when the facts are on the table its here for the tourist dollar which is sustaining the economy.phuket has been grossly mismanaged and robbed by the co***pt wealthy and powerful people.they are too busy fighting about who is getting the biggest slice of the pie and have forgotten to look after the tourist and manage tourism responsibly. profitable sustainable tourism died about 3 years ago and will not return whilst the incompetent and the greedy are foolishly managing tourism using outdated thai methods and they need to step up into the 21st century and provide sustainable tourism methods which are attractive on a world standard.unfortunately it will continue to get worse before it gets tragic, as they cant be told by outsiders who have the relevant experience.thankfully its not my problem.

The Phuket News

Ed Sanders | 15 November 2016 - 16:23:03

Nice spiel for the hotel industry erik dekegel...just a selfish rant how the poor people need to make money, and how it is easy to organize and regulate.  Where in Phuket have you spent the last 13 years? Maybe you forgot about these beautiful beaches lined with 5 or more jam-packed rows of tacky plastic beds with crusty rubber mats, with punk thugs kicking sand in peoples faces because they just wanted to sit in the soft sand.  Or how about the foreshore that was jam-packed with every silly service you could imagine...including tattoos and DVDs and tailors.  You couldn't sit under a tree because they had been scalped by greedy vendors.  Even now that it is supposed to be illegal, all beaches (including the so-called "virgin beaches") are packed with vendors selling anything you want.  In short, Thais have proven they cannot be managed, and with a 100% bumbling police force, there is and will never be any enforcement of anything.

The Phuket News

Concerned | 15 November 2016 - 08:55:37

Tourist needs 
Most Tourists come to Phuket from the cold part of the world because of the sunny warm climate, beaches and the sea…
In order to have a good holiday vacation it is necessary to provide them with proper clean Beach Faculties, Toilets, Beach Chairs, Sun Umbrellas, and Food Drinks etc.
if you over 50 and have worked you whole live you are perhaps in tile for a little comfort to lie in a beach chair from where you are more easily able to get up. It is the Farang over 50 generation who has the cash to afford 5 Star Resorts they are the big spenders who enjoy a day on a clean beach in/on beach chairs and sun umbrellas in peace and comfort.
Young fit Backpackers don’t mind to lie on a matt so do most locals but they are not once with the big cash, exceptions are may occur   
Where Phuket prosperity comes from? 
From Happy Visitors who have perhaps different needs and expectations. 
Beach Holidays are supposed to be fun and not labor camp alike. 
Clean up first the trash which you can see all over Phuket also in the back streets
Clean up the undedicated dangerous traffic law ignorant motorists 
Remember Phuket has only one destination to sell
If you want successfully sell a product like tourism and hospitality, you have to sell what your customers want and not what you would like what’s your idea of great holiday - which is perhaps just shopping.
If Tourists don't get it, they will go to Seaside Resorts in other Tropical Countries where they have it. 
May pen rai

The Phuket News

eric dekegel | 14 November 2016 - 19:20:33

Dear Nasa123, a little bit a pitty you not come out with your real name, I pay here taxes for 13 years,workpermit and visa for 13 years and get nothing back as farang but working in the hotelbusiness as many families on the island it is not difficult to organize the beaches, you do like in europe, you rent them out by sqm by year or 6 months
a part and let them sign what they can sale or rent out they call it organising, with the money, use it for infrastructure as  clean toilets,people who clean the beaches every morning like fex in Bali. Why Phuket as this issue while in other places fex Kao Lak this is not an issue??At every problem there is a solution and it is clear that you or your family is not living from the tourism and you not mind that vietnam,Bali and others take our tourists and the income from us and the people of Phuket. Phuket had not a good low season and many families are in problems but of course you not care as you are not concerned.A well known hotel in Patong from an international brand I not want to mention has now 25% occupancy,normally they have now 90% at least
do you think that this is normal for the time of the year????And the jetskis for them there can also be a solution, I dealed for a customer who had an accident with 2 jetskis and some talking everything was resolved at all parties satisfaction it depends how you treat the people, respect them they will respect you, let them pay a fee/day/engine when they use the beache or by month and send people to check.Not more difficult and who wants a virgin beach can go to the small island where they have even no power,more virgin then that is difficult to find but if you want as island live from tourism and give prosperity to the people living and working there you have to make comcessions.What are you with virgin beaches and no tourists? Nothing just a green idealist who is living on the wrong island in my eyes.
I not drink but soon Phuket will be like pub without beer, is it that what some want ????If yes then they have to move to other place on earth like polynesia but thats another budget then Phuket.

The Phuket News

Nasa123 | 14 November 2016 - 15:18:46

Dear eric dekegel@  And take this to Governor in Phuket :

The Phuket News

Nasa123 | 14 November 2016 - 15:13:58

eric dekegel @ And which vendor on the beaches pay Tax in Phuket I can tell you 0 vendors, jet ski ,food every thing.Thake the all  from the beaches in Phuket.

The Phuket News

Nasa123 | 14 November 2016 - 15:08:48

eric dekegel@ Taxpayer in Phuket ?? tell me ho pay tax in Phuket, my wife pay tax every mount but in Mars /April she go to Tax office in Chalong and get all Tax money back.

The Phuket News

Foot | 14 November 2016 - 15:01:47

I've said for the last few years that tourists come to Phuket for 3 reasons - culture, beach, and nightlife (good and bad).
If Phuket continues to restrict the beach's attraction by not having chairs, umbrellas, vendors, bars and restaurants, tourists will go elsewhere where they are welcomed.  
The "virgin beach" supporters could care less about tourism and the income it generates..  But, it's this very tourism that helps the Thais themselves to survive.

The Phuket News

Nasa123 | 14 November 2016 - 13:11:39

I think you ned to take this Poll again, 98% off my voting are wrong ? I voting many time every day on: Yes, clear the beaches of vendors, but allow tourists to bring their own sun loungers.But my voting all the time still 98% go to: No, allow vendors back on the beaches, which worked well for tourists for years. It`s not BIG deal but right most be right, and whay I now that are a secret. I am accept  this poll bat it`s wrong.

The Phuket News
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