PHUKET: A day at the beach just got a bit less friendly, as beach chair operators in Kata-Karon and Nai Yang have announced they will double their rental rates to 100 baht per chair from tomorrow. A similar price hike in Patong appears inevitable.
Ampien Thueathin, head of the Patong Beach Chair Operators’ Association, said he had been in contact with beach-chair renters in Kata-Karon and Nai Yang, discussing the possibility of standardizing rental rates island-wide at 100 baht per lounger.
“In Patong, the current daily rental fee is 100 baht for a set of two loungers, umbrella and a small table. But if a customer wants only one bed, we charge only 50 baht a day,” he said.
The Patong Beach Chair Operators’ Association is scheduled to meet on Monday, after which they expect to raise their prices as well, K. Ampien said.
The association had already discussed the issue with Patong Mayor Pian Keesin, he added.
K. Ampien said that the 100% price increase was justified by the fact that the municipality limits the number of chairs the operators are allowed to set out, and because the plastic beach chairs are more expensive to buy (2,700 baht) than the heavy, wooden loungers (1,200 baht) that were banned after the tsunami.
“It costs us about 10,000 baht for each set of two beds, one umbrella and a table,” said K. Ampien.
During the low season, the number of sun-loungers that can be put out is limited to 2,400, all aligned in a single row. In the high season, the number more than doubles, to 5,000 beds arranged in two rows.
Khun Ampien also pointed out that the plastic beds, lighter and easier to move than their wooden predecessors, are stacked up neatly at the end of each day, making the beach more attractive.
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