Patong deckchair touts must double capacity to survive

Patong’s deckchair touts – the legal ones – want local authorities to double the number of chairs and umbrellas, claiming that the existing quantity is insufficient to meet demand on Phuket’s Patong Beach.

Only 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. “Some people” have claimed to obstruct views of the beach and sea.

Patong Beach is hardly a beauty spot – at least not a conventional one – populated by wide-eyed tourists interested in looking at the very ordinary daytime vista. Who these complainers are, and their motives have never been made clear. No figures have been released for the number of complaints received over the number of chairs on the beach.

The few operators who remain say that they have been greatly affected by restrictions during the past three years. It would be unreasonable to assume that there have been no complaints at all and that someone in authority is planning a scam, but Patong is not a reasonable place. What complaints there have been in other resorts are about the high cost of beach chairs and their unavailability – so there is clearly money to be made.

Patong, holiday in thailand deckchair operators
The situation is perhaps worse now because there are nowhere near the number of chairs required and the numbers of tourists remain – despite government protestations – much lower than before the shutdown.

According to the Phuket airport immigration daily report, 300,000 tourists arrived in Phuket between November 1 and December 6. Pre-pandemic, Phuket expected to welcome upwards of 700,000 in November, so the number of tourists – and demand for deckchairs along with them – is around half of the historical level.

Most current arrivals are Russian tourists, followed by about 35,000 from India, 17,000 from Australia and those from Singapore, the United Kingdom, Germany, Kazakhstan and Malaysia. Only 1,500,000 foreign tourists arrived in Phuket between July 1 and December 6.

Phuket News

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

Related Articles