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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.”

C and C Marine

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 | 01 January 2017 - 13:02:06

@ Phuket beaches:  Please, be patient. The Governor promised to take steps to clear all Phuket beaches of vendors.
Just be patient, The Governor is just still warming up to start to executive this heavy task.
Give him time!

The Phuket News

Kurt | 01 January 2017 - 12:56:32

@ Jome, Hahaha, You describe a Singapore scene.!
Yes, the scene in S'pore attracts indeed quality tourists, as we all know.
As you describe, Phuket has many years a lot of work to do first before quality tourist will favor Phuket ( again).

The Phuket News

Jome | 01 January 2017 - 10:24:03

Why would Phuket need Virgin Beaches or spend effort or money for the beaches at all????
This would be for the cheapo touris who steal their daily sandwich ration at the hotel breakfast buffet and buy a bottle of water at super cheap for the beach.......
Phuket wants quality tourists!!
Phuket needs more shopping malls with artificial blue lagoons and artificial palm trees,gem palaces and duty free malls,under roof and air conditioned,were Quality Tourists can roam freely and comfortably spend their money.
A loop of light rail system and air conditioned busses which stop 3 times per hour at each hotel and .........................

The Phuket News

Phuket beaches | 31 December 2016 - 12:33:04

How about that fact they are allowing beach vendors to move the towels of swimmers ( Who don't pay ( so they can replace them with beach mats and umbrellas for paying customers?

This happened to me at Surin Beach on Wednesday.

When i was swimming, i saw the beach vendor dragging my towel 10 metres down the beach and then replacing the area with a mat and umbrella for 2 paying customers.

The Phuket News

Kurt | 30 December 2016 - 11:49:43

It is very simple. What was not virgin anymore for many years (Phuket beaches), you can't go back in time and make it virgin again.
Once not a virgin anymore, never a virgin again.

Thai authorities have to come up with another concept to promote the Phuket jewels, the beaches, but when they want to attract foreign tourists again, they have to think and work out 'foreign'.
Something to think about:
Why are Phang Nga beaches north of Phuket not suffer the incompetent not knowing what to do Phuket authority behavior?
That a Royal Thai Navy has to step in sometimes about Phuket beach affairs is actually funny. Right?
It shows/proves something about the civil Phuket authorities.

Name me another 'beach' country were sometimes the navy has to step in.
Thinking about USA, Australia, Singapore, European countries, etc.

Phuket beach point is:
Until 2.5 years ago I could get a chair+mattress+umbrella for 100thb.
On a clean beach, drinks and snacks provided if wanted.
Now I can get a mattress on the hot sand + umbrella for 300 thb. On a dirty beach, no drinks or snacks. ( of course illegal available, but it has it's price).
What are Phuket authorities thinking? And not doing?
Now there will be a thai Phuket Beach Conference on January 15.
Outcome prediction?  Nonsense!

The Phuket News

yvonne | 29 December 2016 - 19:58:19

Mr Eric de Kegel, this is not your Europe! This is Thailand of the Thai people first and foremost. The beaches are for everyone, Rich and Poor and first and foremost should be the Thai citizens.Your European ideas of creating here another foreign type of French Riviera with a "monopoly by large chain hotels", many of them also owned by "foreign groups" not  just Thais, (possibly like you work for) to pay for concessions to lease and then create "their own private beach section" they control, making it just for their Guests and having to PAY  for others and with their restrictions  in place,is out.You have grand Ideas of creating Monopolies by the rich foreigners/Share Holders  who own these hotel groups. You can forget about that. You will have a Thai uprising like you have never seen.these Thailand beaches and Phuket  is part and parcel of Thailand!Maybe stick to doing your job that you have a work permit for, before it is withdrawn or otherwise,move to Nice ,Cannes or any  of the monopoly for the rich only-pay beaches in Europe you seem to a "fan and supporter"of.I myself have been in tourism 30 years to do with Thailand, much longer than you. No imported ideas of monopolies and annexation of beaches for the sole enjoyment and benefit of foreign tourists.Thai people do not need that and never needed that. That never in any agenda of  the late King Bhumibol and neither will it be now with his son as King and the Thai Royal Family, who care too much for their Thai Nation first and foremost.Never in Thailand  Mr DeKegel and rightfully so.

The Phuket News

Foot | 17 December 2016 - 16:03:16

To skip.  2 1/2 years ago the governor said the beach attractions - chairs, umbrellas, high season bars, restaurants, and vendors were eliminated because the government couldn't control the various mafias involved.  So, instead of stepping up law enforcement, it was decided to eliminate these attractions.  I don't know about the taxes being paid, them, but, there is much less income now with the sharp decline in the number of tourists.

The Phuket News

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.

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