Phuket governor remains calm despite protest

Phuket governor remains calm despite protest
Governor Nisit, center, makes it clear that beach chairs are not allowed on any of Phuket's beaches.

PHUKET Governor Nisit Jansomwong has asked for all information about beach vendor protests in Bangkok to be sent to him in Germany, where he is attending a major tourism gathering.

"Governor Nisit has not made any comment or instructed us to take any direct action at this point. I believe we will discuss this problem together after he flies back to Phuket," the island's deputy governor, Somkiet Sangkaosuttirak, said yesterday.

About 150 beach vendors arrived at the Prime Minister's Office in Bangkok on Tuesday and submitted a letter of complaint addressed to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

They alleged that the governor was creating rules to help only a select few business operators and was not serving the province's best interests. The new rules allow beach vendors to operate limited services in designated areas that comprise 10 per cent of any given Phuket beach.

"We have passed on what little information we could glean from newspapers and television reports. However, we will just have to wait for the Prime Minister's Office to see what the next course of action will be," Somkiet said.

The deputy governor explained that vendors were probably attempting to circumvent the provincial-level government because many attempts to sway the governor's plan failed in recent months.

"The vendors have gone to the Damrongtham Centre at Phuket Provincial Hall many times since December. However, Governor Nisit wants to stick to the plan, and give it a chance to succeed - which has frustrated them," Somkiet said.

"The vendors need to remain calm and work with Governor Nisit's new rules, as all officers are trying their best to preserve our tourism industry and not negatively affect the people of Phuket."

Governor Nisit is expected to return from the International Tourism Bourse 2015 in Berlin, Germany tomorrow.

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