Pattaya officials this week planned to debate new rules aimed at cleaning up Pattaya and Jomtien beaches to bring them in line with policies set by the National Council for Peace and Order.
At a Sept. 26 press conference, city council members Terasak Jatupong, Banjong Banthoonprayuk, and Ithiwat Wattanasartsathorn said they had led 10 teams of city workers to area beaches Sept. 24-26 to count the number of beach chairs and vendors plying their trade on the sand.
(Seated, left to right) Banjong Banthoonprayuk, Ithiwat Wattanasartsathorn, and Samrongkiat Phinitkankan, along with their committee discuss new rules aimed at cleaning up Pattaya and Jomtien beaches to bring them in line with policies set by the National Council for Peace and Order.
The surveyors gathered information on each vendor, including whether the current operator had taken over from the original licensee. They noted that beach chair franchises were first granted 30 years ago and many have been passed down through generations or sold.
Terasak said information collected will be complied and present to the full city council, which planned to meet this week with provincial and military representatives.
Thailand’s military regime has made a steady march through the country’s beach resorts, removing benches, umbrellas and vendors from public beaches in an effort to restore the natural environment, eradicate entrenched corruption and improve the atmosphere for tourists.
The military so far has taken a hands-off approach to umbrella-dotted Pattaya and Jomtien beaches. The NCPO ordered city officials to clean up the beach and have assigned the Royal Thai Navy to keep tabs on their efforts. So, at least for now, the military has no plans to take direct action.
But local leaders know that could change in a heartbeat and are quickly moving to reshape the image of the beach, both on the sand and the footpath behind it.
In late August, Pattaya officials rolled out a revised set of regulations governing beach vendors and, on Sept. 1, began inspections and met with affected operators. This week’s round of meetings could determine how aggressive Pattaya will be in reforming its beaches and whether that effort will be enough to keep the soldiers at bay.