Tourists dodge Thailand beach smoking ban
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Tourists dodge Thailand beach smoking ban

LAST week, Thailand began enforcing its smoking ban at some of its most popular beaches but it seems that not many tourists are happy with the new ruling.

In a move to preserve its pristine environment, the Department of Marine and Coastal resources began prohibiting tourists from lighting up in Dongtan beach, Pattaya, as the first beach among 24 beaches in 15 provinces.

However, the pilot project did not go off to a good start as many visitors have ignored the ban.

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According to the Bangkok Post, two public toilets off the beach behind the deck chair area were designated as smoking zones but foreign tourists have refused to use them.

Some locals say the tourists insist on puffing away while seated on their rented chairs. A rented chair operator Chatchawal Simmasuk said he was among the chair kiosk operators who abided by the ruling.

The two toilets situated behind the beach, which is known as Thailand’s most popular gay beach, were allocated smoking areas.

Chatchawal said operators and locals would talk to tourists whenever they started smoking at the prohibited zones to ask them to go to the designated areas instead.

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He noted that many tourists appeared upset when they were told to do so as they had paid to use the chairs.

The ban, he said, was mostly unpopular among tourists who used to be able to smoke freely.

Earlier, the Marine and Coastal Resources department said discarded cigarette butts make up about one-third of the rubbish collected on one single beach.

This article was originally published on our sister website Travel Wire Asia.