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Phuket Gov pleads for time to settle beach question

PHUKET: Governor Nisit Jansomwong gave a lengthy justification of the beach reorganisation in Phuket on Tuesday (April 21), pleading for critics to wait until the trial period is over in another month.

By Nattapat Tuarob

Thursday 23 April 2015, 03:27PM

Gov Nisit want people to give the new beach management a chance.

Gov Nisit want people to give the new beach management a chance.

Speaking at his first meeting with honorary consuls on the island, he said, “I want you to understand that in the past, the activities on the beach were mostly illegal – people encroaching on public beaches.

“The other day, I met Michael Hancock, the British Consul, who came down from Bangkok, and he said that in the past the beaches in Phuket were free.

“I explained to him that they were not free, because they were occupied by groups of people. But that image has been changed today because we have strict law enforcement and I won’t let those groups do that again.

“I set three steps for beach management,” he explained. These, he said, are enforcement of laws, beach management and sustainability.

“The first was Social Order – enforcement of the law so that anybody, locals or tourists, can come to use the beach freely.

“The second is beach management. In recognition that some tourists may want to use mats or cushions on the beach, I have set aside the special 10-per-cent zone for them, so that beach users can have a choice.

“Two questions: Why 10 per cent? And why not allow sunbeds and sunloungers [as opposed to mats or cusions]?

“If you allow more than the 10 per cent there will be no room for people who want to just sit on the beach.

“I also listened to Phuket people [who told me] if you let [sunbeds] come back, [the whole beach] will be occupied again.

“Mr Hancock asked me why is the beach regulation so strict? I told him that is because the law in Thailand prohibits littering or drinking alcohol in public.

“I have been six times to beach cleaning sessions and I found the beaches very dirty. There were cigarette ends everywhere I went. How can we create a sustainable beach [like this]?

“I understand that some tourists might not feel comfortable with the rules but I would like you to follow them and understand that we do have rules and you need to follow them.

“Our rules will preserve our nation and our beaches. The rules are meant to keep the beach organised in the long run.

“From now on, police or soldiers will no longer be involved in enforcing rules on tourists. But we will put our rules in hotel rooms and tour companies. I realise that the rules may not be understood [by everyone] in one day. It takes time to change the behaviour of tourists, business operators, and officials.”

As for building up sustainability, he said, “I will discuss with local municipalities the rules for further law enforcement and beach management committees. I have ordered government officials not to go after tourists or disturb them.

“We will use other channels to communicate with the tourists, I promise you that.”

Seven Smulders, honorary consul for the Netherlands, said he thought that the prohibition on beach chairs and sunbeds would see Phuket lose a large number of elderly tourists.

Governor Nisit replied, “I understand that some tourists have different needs but I want you to wait for this three-month plan to end – it’s been in place two months now – after which I will evaluate performance and will discuss all the concerns and problems with government officials.

“I would like to ask for you to understand that when it comes to matters of public policy, I must listen to all the stakeholders in the province.

“This is a public policy, and there will definitely be winners and losers. I want to see the benefit going to our country.

“What surprised me is that tourists visiting Phuket are [generally] happy. But people in Phuket are not. In the Gross National Happiness Index, Phuket people are second from last.”



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dumb farang | 25 April 2015 - 12:38:44

Congratulations Thailand on taking positive steps to improve Phukets beaches!   This article outlines sensible steps forward for more people to enjoy Phuket beaches.  It doesn’t surprise me to hear Euro-farangs crying like babies about losing their precious sun lounge habits they’ve brought to Thailand.  What an improvement to see them go!  Perhaps you didn’t understand that cleaning up the ...

Richard Vickers | 24 April 2015 - 18:23:18

Sorry Chalong, but you give too much credit to the sunbed bums. I have been involved in regular beach cleaning for years, and the beach bed bums were good for sweeping up leaves and pine needles and big pieces of trash, but most of them contributed to the thousands of cigarette stubs that were stuffed in the sand all around the silly beds, with high concentrations of them stuffed in the sand aroun...

RedButler46 | 24 April 2015 - 17:29:37

This governor obviously has no idea why tourists come to Phuket. After 17 years of coming to here, this will likely be the last year. There's nowhere to sit comfortably in the shade and enjoy the beach view. The place will be left to college kids who don't mind sitting in the hot sand and not bright enough to stay out of the sun or avoid renting a jet ski. 

No one with time or money (o...

Chalong | 24 April 2015 - 13:45:22

"I have been six times to beach cleaning sessions and I found the beaches very dirty. There were cigarette ends everywhere I went". 

The governor is clearly uninformed regarding the cause of this. In the 'bad' old days, the first job of the day for the sunbed operators would be to clean their section of the beach; a job the local Or Bor Tors have never been keen to do for them...

durian | 24 April 2015 - 06:28:47

Local government with new regulations created a HELL FOR TOURISTS....
New regulation make no sense. There is no system and beaches are filthy! NO where to hide from the sun! You have to walk for miles to find that 10% area where  you can find your own umbrella, with kids! 
No one wants to come to Phuket anymore, People go to Samui, HuaHin, Pattaya because they can relax there and enjoy the beach...

Richard Vickers | 24 April 2015 - 00:58:30

This whole article is a bad joke. I love the statement that "the law in Thailand prohibits littering or drinking alcohol in public". Then why is every corner of this island a trash heap, and if law enforcement is #1, then why don't you do something about the tuktuk scum that fill the gutters with their trash all day and night. Face it, all of the beaches are a disgusting mess with tr...

LivinLOS | 23 April 2015 - 16:34:00

If the first order is to enforce laws.. Why is the law, as admitted by the marine 5 local boss, which says jet skis can not be legally rented, not enforced.

Isn't the point that it's now not pick and choose which laws we want but all laws must be obeyed ??

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