The recent revelation by Phuket Governor Chockchai Dejamornthan that he will start taking steps to have all beaches in Phuket cleared of vendors and returned to “virgin” status has received a mixed reaction among expats and foreign visitors in an online poll by The Phuket News.

The current ruling is called the “10 percent zone,” which means that 10 percent of beaches may be occupied by vendors. This was introduced by Phuket’s previous Governor, Chamroen Tipayapongtada.

However, the “beach rules” in Phuket specifically apply only in Phuket. The 10 percent rule does not apply anywhere else in Thailand, not even in Khao Lak, just one hour’s drive north of Phuket, or even on Phi Phi or elsewhere in across the bay in Krabi.

Gov. Chockchai last month explained that his understanding was that local authorities had no legal right to allow any vendors on the beaches, 10 percent or otherwise, and that he would have them removed.

To this, The Phuket News asked readers in an online poll, “Do you support Gov. Chockchai’s plan to clear Phuket’s beaches of all vendors?”

The poll, which ran for two weeks, concluded at midnight last night as Phuket begins to enter its annual tourism high season.

Of note, 80 percent of respondents to the poll were expats or foreign visitors to Phuket.

Only 14 percent agreed with Gov. Chockchai’s stance, voting “Yes, all beaches in Phuket should be clear of all vendors.”

However, a further 34 percent called for the Governor to “clear the beaches of vendors, but allow tourists to bring their own sun loungers.”

In contrast, 41 percent of respondents called for a return to Phuket’s past, voting, “No, allow vendors back on the beaches, which worked well for tourists for years.”

The current status of allowing vendors to occupy 10 percent of the beach at selected beaches gained the least support, with 12% of respondents voting, “No, leave the ‘10 percent rule’ in place – it is the best solution so far.”