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Pressure builds on organizer over Paris Hilton New Year beach party

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PHUKET: Pressure is building on event organizer Sydictive Element to win over local authorities in order to gain approval for the three-day New Year Phuket beach party announced by Paris Hilton in Bangkok last month.

Speaking with the Phuket Gazette on Thursday, Governor Maitri said he had reservations about the depth of the effort and resources being committed to make sure that such a large-scale event does not adversely affect local residents and businesses.

“In my opinion, the organizer must explore the small details, not just the overall picture. Identify exactly what the impact will be on the environment with regard to noise and how the locals are affected. Perhaps the organizers could consider down-sizing the party, as managing 50,000 people is a tall order,” he said.

However, he also said he would give his approval if all the key stakeholders who will be affected by the new year party agreed to the event.

“I’m very much the middleman in this issue. I’ve had hotel owners, local government and other business operators coming to see me regarding this event.

“They should sort the problem out themselves. I have tasked President [of the Cherngtalay OrBorTor] Ma-ann [Samran] to get this resolved and inform me of the result,” he said.

Local hoteliers at Surin Beach petitioned the governor on November 6 to cancel the party, claiming that just the announcement of the party alone had cost them 8 million baht in room cancellations.

Meanwhile, Mr Ma-ann has yet to be convinced that the party would be a positive development for Surin Beach.

“I have talked to villagers in the area and my concern is the damage that will be caused to the local environment, especially the trash that will have to be cleaned up after the party,” he told the Gazette on Friday.

He added that he personally did not want the party to be held – at least not on his domain.

“If the event does go ahead, I’ll just do my part in the after-party clean up operation. However, the organizer really must answer questions on the safety and environmental concerns. And how they are going to handle the 50,000 people they expect to attend the three-day event,” he said.

Mr Ma-ann added that despite his personal convictions, the ultimate decision remained with Governor Maitri.

“I am not the one who will have to decide whether or not the party will go ahead. That’s down to the governor,” Mr Ma-ann said.

Given the controversy surrounding the event, the Phuket Gazette‘s most recent online poll asked its readers: “Should Phuket host mega-event beach parties such as the Paris Hilton mega New Year Party at Surin Beach?”

Though the poll has yet to be closed, preliminary results show that about 82 per cent of the more than 2,873 respondents voted, “No – Never. Events such as this do Phuket tourism more harm than good.”

— Chutharat Plerin

 

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