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Rear Admiral Pisai said that sand sun lounges breach the rules of the legal 10 per cent beach zone and ordered them to be removed.
“This high season more tourists and more vendors are doing the sand sun loungers and I am afraid that this issue might expand in a bigger area as other vendors copy this method. Vendors have adapted this method as a way to circumvent the rules of the legal 10 per cent beach zones,” said Rear Admiral Pisai.
Patong Mayor Chalermluk Kebsup said she does not support the operators of the sand sun lounges and said they began to appear after the 2014 crackdown on unsightly beach vendors and sun beds – which had taken over large swathes of popular tourist beaches in Phuket.
In the wake of the Army-led beach vendor crackdown, a local law was passed that allowed 10 per cent of each beach to be used for commercial purposes.
Governor Chockchai Dejamornthan said that these sand sun loungers are in the legal 10 per beach zone, but that vendors have used sand mounds as a way to avoid the restrictions on wooden or plastic sun lounges.
“Building sand up doesn’t affect the environment, but it needs to be cleared every day. Vendors create sand sun loungers to service the demand from their their customers,” said Governor Chockchai.
“We will listen to every complaint or request from beach vendors, but we need to discuss the issue in more detail.”
He added that a meeting will be held in mid-January to further discuss the issue with beach vendors.