10% of Phuket beaches set aside for mat and umbrella operators
Ten per cent of the space on beaches in Muang District is to be set aside for beach mats and umbrella operators, it was announced yesterday (December 22).
The announcement was made at a follow-up meeting chaired by Vice-Governor Somkiet Sangkhaosutthirak after Governor Nisit Jansomwong’s approval for beach operators to rent out umbrellas and mats in specific zones.
“Today we are focusing on 12 beaches around Muang District. The zoning will be planned by local authorities starting tomorrow (December 23).”
He ordered that 10 per cent of each beach will be open for mats, umbrellas, and will be strictly controlled by a municipal official who will check the area regularly.
“The zone will be used by listed operators from 9am to 4pm.”
The rental price for umbrellas and mats will be fixed for the entire island and will announced by this Friday (December 26).
V/Gov Somkiet expressed his confidence in the new zoning scheme, saying that local operators will control it.
“Registered operators will work together to keep outsiders from working on the beach [illegally]. They recognise the importance of the new scheme and the importance of controlling it.”
After the meeting, a group of masseuses complained to the Vice Governor about the changes that had been made since the previous meeting chaired by the Governor.
“We were told we were allowed to bring mattresses to the beach for massage services, but now it’s illegal again,” said Rattana Sae’lee.
“We bring mattresses to make the customers comfortable. That’s better for them than lying on a mat.”
The Vice Governor and Governor plan to discuss the issue again and come up with an answer by this Friday (December 26).
“We will try to help beach operators for a few months, and then we will re-evaluate the zoning scheme.
“We plan to cooperate with local universities and conduct research to see if everyone – local officials, beach operators, local people, tourists – is satisfied,” he said.