A land official in the seaside province of Phuket confirmed on Monday that the beach in front of a luxurious hotel belongs to the hotel and is not public property as earlier believed.
Yongyuth Kanjananurak, of Thalang branch, said he inspected the site, the land rights documents and the boundary markers of Lepang-Bangtao beaches before acknowledging ownership of the area by Dusit Thani Laguna Phuket Hotel.
“We found that the land title deeds of about 17 rais of land of the hotel are legitimate and the hotel’s lands cover the beaches in question,” he said.
According to the Phuket Gazette, Facebook user Aziz Yotharak recently posted a video that appeared to show a tourist with two children sitting on a mat on the beach in front of the hotel being told to leave the area as it is private property.
The tourist was heard replying that the beach “cannot possibly belong to a hotel”. The video went viral, with many FB users wondering how the beach could be private.
The Gazette quoted Ma-Ann Samran, president of the Cherngtalay OrBorTor, as saying that he had discussed the matter with hotel management.
“The staff said that the general manager only ordered staff at the scene to inform the tourist that if he wanted to use the resort’s facilities, such as the swimming pool, he had to buy a day-pass voucher,” said Ma-Ann.
Staff denied that the general manager had ordered that the tourist be moved from the beach. The resort insists “the staff didn’t force the tourist away, as that would create a bad tourism image for Phuket”, said Ma-Ann.
Yongyuth said the area in front of the hotel appeared to be a beach because of coastal erosion.
The Land Department has agreed to the hotel owners’ request for it to officially demarcate the hotel’s areas to prevent a similar incident from happening.