Authorities are figuring out a solution to find a balance between unrestricted beach space and the availability of sun loungers and beach umbrellas on Patong Beach. Vendors who rent these lounge chairs for customers to bask on the beach have asked for the space designated to them to be increased. They say there’s too much demand from tourists and not enough beds available. Many of them have been illegally encroaching on beach space that was supposed to be free from obstruction.
About 10% of Patong Beach has been allocated to about 60 small-time operators, as part of a new attempt to limit their operations along the entire beach. Residents claim that beach chairs and umbrellas obstruct views of the beach and sea. But with an influx of new tourists arriving from Australia, India, Europe, Russia, Singapore, and the UK, the limited number of beach chairs has left many with no choice other than to sit on the sand.
Many vendors, torn between following the law and earning money by providing loungers for customers, have been going beyond the 0.3 kilometres allotted and laying out extra chairs. A representative of the association that includes the lounge providers for Patong Beach says they are planning to officially request permission to expand the zone where lounge chairs and umbrellas are permissible.
They are proposing that, during the High Season, regulation should allow up to 20% of the beach to be used for sun loungers and umbrellas. During the low season, the current 10% allocation can remain in place.
The association, which is concerned with all vendors on Patong Beach, announced plans to meet with relevant agencies to discuss other issues involving people hawking goods and services on the waterfront. They want to discuss people offering massages on the beach, as well as the people who hike up and down the beach in the evenings selling souvenirs, food and drink, and other goods and services.
Confidence and a feeling of safety are a priority for the group to make tourists feel welcomed and at ease when they visit Patong Beach. A separate proposal is aimed at preservation and beautification by planting bayhops, screwpines and other greenery along the beach, expanding the green area and preserving the upper soil layer.