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Beach chair operators in Patong want to extend working area amid tourism surge

Flickr/leon.yuan

With Phuket’s tourism sector experiencing a long-awaited revival, beach chair operators in Patong have asked to be allowed extend their working areas. ‘Prab’ Keesin, representing the Patong Beach Bed Local Operators group, says an increase in visitor numbers calls for an extension to the zones where beach chair operators can ply their trade.

According to a Phuket Express report, beach chair operators and massage providers currently have access to 10% of Patong Beach. With a surge in tourist numbers in the area, they now want this extended to 20%. The laws come into force in 2017 after police cracked down on the local Beach Chair ‘mafia’ who were taking over entire beach spaces with little regard for beachgoers and tourists.

Patong sun lounge vendors are already operating way beyond their 10% limit, according to some observers and Thai media.

“Normally, they are allowed 10% of the beach for their working zone. However, in this high season, we are requesting to extend to 20% zoning of the beach.”

Responding to reports of complaints about operators already working outside of the officially-designated zones, Prab has offered assurances that this matter will be dealt with.

“We are also managing complaints on beach bed and massage operators outside the legal zones as well as other vendors at night time. Patong Beach must remain a beautiful beach with cleanliness and safety.”

Phuket is currently experiencing its first busy tourist season since 2019 as global travel resumes and the Covid-19 pandemic abates, with arrival numbers approximately 40% of 2019 numbers, across the island.

Leading the way are the Russians, many of whom are escaping the tension in their own country as the war on Ukraine continues. They are followed by the Indians, and then tourists from Australia, Singapore, the UK, and Germany.

Similar trends can be seen across the Andaman Islands where pent-up demand has led to a surge in international arrivals. In Krabi, tourism officials say around 1.5 million travellers will have visited the province by the end of the year, generating around 15 billion baht in tourism revenue.

SOURCE: The Phuket Express

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