Meeting called to stem beachfront friction

PATONG: In a move to defuse growing tension between Phuket-native vendors in Patong and vendors who have migrated south to the resort town in hopes of making their fortunes, Patong Municipality on Friday held an all-day conference advocating more ethical business practices and a united front in serving tourists. “It’s not easy getting people from everywhere in Thailand to work and live together in Patong,” said Namphet Chatpunyanon, Deputy Director of Patong Municipality’s Environmental Health section and Head of a Municipality project called “Let’s work together to be better hosts”. “There are so many non-Patong people that they outnumber Patong locals three to one, with most coming from the north and northeast of Thailand because they have heard of Patong’s reputation as a place to make money,” she said. There are about 420 masseuses and masseurs working on Patong Beach, she said, with about 220 of them being from Isarn. Sunbed operators had refused to allow some people to offer massages in certain areas of the beach. “Patong Municipality has to fix the problem by getting them to talk openly, and this project will make them realize they should cooperate to run their businesses together,” K. Namphet said. At the seminar, which attracted about 1,000 people to the Royal Paradise Hotel, nationally-recognized marketing guru Dr Seri Wongmonta advised the assembled throng, “Don’t do business for today. You must realize that you can [stay in business] forever as long as you keep the place nice, and offer good service at a good price so that the tourists come back again.”

Phuket News
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