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Meanwhile Back At The Beach

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Posted: 28 Jun 2014 | 8:07 am

For those who live overseas or else don't go near the water, the current ongoing transformation of Phuket's beaches is nothing short of amazing.

Taxi stands removed, sun loungers nowhere in sight, and structures on public land being dismantled.

At the same time there is an interesting debate amongst hoteliers about the question over the necessity of beach loungers for tourists. Is the need real or imagined?

Beaches across the world from Hawaii to Australia, California to many other parts of the world require beach goers to put down and towel or a mat and tough it out.

In Phuket the snowbird legacy of Europeans escaping the winter chill is the foundation of high season tourism. So though many Asians and other travellers head for the mall, the island's winter wonderland is still a strong draw card.

It's hard to imagine tourists cancelling their holidays due to the beach clean up, and if anything the long-term prospects are bright.

Many hotels have large spacious pools with loungers, cabanas and every manner of day bed so there are options for those who want to bask in the sun.

Where the pressure comes are markets such as Patong with its influx of' same same' bed factories which have no public areas or features to offer guests except for cheap rooms. These will suffer and rightly so.

The current set of Phuket clean up measures need to be applauded and perhaps John Kerry who remains critical of all things Thai should set his feet on the ground before waging a war of travel advisory's which continue to hamper the broad tourism sector.

Is there the opposite side of the coin? Of course, for the beach workers who man the massage huts or struggle to make a daily wage, the impact is harsh and needs to be addressed.

In terms of reforms, absolute power corrupts and there hopefully will be in time, equilibrium in government.

But for now, tourism stakeholders in Phuket have ever reason to view the current state of play at the beaches as a strong long term positive.

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As the owner of a 14 room guest house in Patong with many loyal and happy farang and Thai guests I am astonished at the offensive snobbery of your remarks. And your belief that lounging around a chlorinated pool at a boring hotel is equivalent to a day at the beach is preposterous. Bill Barnett responds:
No snobbery intended, as the point is aimed that far too many of the new hotels that have come online in Patong have few distinguishing facilities and that helps no one going forward. Phuket has a fine line-up of properties from budget up to luxury, so something for every budget.
 
Ken Freed, 29 Jun 2014 | 1:23 pm

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