At some beaches the rules still stand, some with a few modifications. At some they have been scrapped completely for various reasons, abuse of power by vendors being one.
But three years down the line it is still a topic of debate. The most recent example was at Surin Beach, where vendors had slowly made their way back to the beaches despite it being classed a “virgin beach” where no vendors were to be allowed.
But let’s step back to 2014 when the issue of beach management first came to the surface, a plan was announced by then-Governor Nisit Jansomwong under orders from the NCPO.
The whole idea of introducing the rules was to bring some kind of law and order to what had, in effect, become a situation where private vendors “owned” and managed public areas.
But who would be affected by these new rules more than anybody else? The very people that bring so much to not only the island’s, but also to the whole country’s economy – tourists.
Back in mid-2014 it was announced that a major part of deciding the fate of beach vendors would come down to a three-month survey conducted by the Prince of Songkhla University (PSU) Phuket campus, which would question tourists visiting Phuket’s Beaches.
However, the rules and regulations were introduced and enforced well before of any details of such a study were revealed.
In June 2015 the whole issue was still mired in controversy and the research team at PSU said they would be presenting its findings to the governor in July that year.
But now it’s December 2017 and the results of that survey have never been revealed.
Last Friday (Dec 14) PSU finally revealed the results of a beach management research survey. But it came as some surprise to The Phuket News when we learned that it was a completely different survey conducted between Oct 2016 and Sept 2017, not the survey originally conducted in 2015.
At the time it was pretty clear what “tourists” thought of the idea to introduce the beach management rules – they didn’t want them. So why were the results of the original survey never revealed? Is there something in that report that officials are trying to hide?