Businesses back on Patong Beach – for now

PATONG: Owners of small businesses will be allowed to return to Patong Beach, but only until the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) “improvement” plan is implemented, Kathu District Chief Officer Kantee Sinlapa has stressed.

K. Kantee said the temporary reprieve applies to businesses such as beach umbrella renters, jet-ski operators, vehicle rental firms and drinks vendors.

But, he warned, “When we get the money from the government, the improvement plan will be implemented, and the businesses will just have to go along with it.”

The improvement plan allows for just two rows of sunbeds on the beach, and bans them from certain “zones”. It also bars vehicle rental businesses from Thaveewong Rd, which runs along the beachfront.

K. Kantee could not say when the plan will be put into operation.

In Kamala, another “improvement” plan, drawn up by Phuket Marine Office, Phuket Provincial Land Office and the Kamala Tambon Administration, calls for all buildings within 20 metres of the high tide mark to be demolished.

The owners of 10 houses, mostly small bungalows, have agreed to the demolition of their homes, K. Kantee said.

Another 44 residents, who before the tsunami lived on state land near the beach, have until February 15 to sign contracts to rent the land from the government for 15 years, said K. Kantee.

“Anyone who doesn’t sign a contract but stays on the land will be punished according to the law,” he said.

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