Thailand's Phuket relaxes ban on beach sun loungers

By News from Elsewhere... found by BBC Monitoring

Image source, AP
Image caption,
Lying on a beach in Phuket is about to get easier

Sun loungers are returning to at least one public beach at the popular Thai resort of Phuket, after a three-year ban on them by the army, the Phuket Gazette website reports.

The loungers were first outlawed in 2014, as part of an effort to better regulate the vendors renting them and other beach paraphernalia, and to reduce the amount of clutter on the seafront. Local authorities had even raided beaches and seized loungers and chairs to enforce the ban. Thailand has been ruled by a military government since May 2014.

However, rules have relaxed over the three years since the ban was put in place, and vendors have been able to rent out mats or umbrellas in restricted areas on beaches, and tourists can bring their own to use.

But sun loungers have remained off-limits until now. Even wily attempts by some vendors to build sand beds shaped like loungers were barred this Christmas, the Bangkok Post says.

Phuket's mayor, Chalermluck Kebsup, said the decision had been been reversed on Patong, Phuket's most popular beach. It remains to be seen whether the island's other stretches of sand will also benefit from the more laid-back rules, the Phuket News website says.

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