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PHUKET: My family, together with two other families, have travelled together to enjoy our holidays in Phuket, and Karon Beach in particular, every Swedish winter for the past 13 years.

But now it’s over.

We are able to see Karon Beach from a web camera that broadcasts video online from a resort beside the beach – and because there are no umbrellas and no sun-loungers, we have decided to go to some other warm country for our holidays this year.

It’s a total disaster for everyone on Phuket and we cannot understand why this situation has been accepted.

I’m sure that this will affect many tourists’ decision on whether or not to spend their holidays in Phuket, and could easily affect many tourists’ decisions on whether to come to Thailand at all, if Phuket is a major part of their travel plans.

As a regular tourist, you get to know the local vendors over time, as you always go to the same place, and this is a big part of staying at Karon Beach. You can get local advice and information, buy something to drink or eat, and the prices are really good.

As far as the corruption scandal about the huge amounts of money spent on acquiring beach contracts, the reason why it did not become an issue for tourists is because it didn’t really affect us.

We don’t really care because the vendors were taking care of us. If we had to arrange beach umbrellas and everything else all by ourselves, then I’m sure that would have been the end of the expression the “Land of Smiles”.

And I’m afraid that the latest news that tourists are now allowed to bring their own umbrellas doesn’t fix the problem.

Imagine a family carrying their kids and all of their toys down to the beach. They will not accept the fact that they have to bring their own umbrellas and other essentials to at the tropical beaches as well. It’s just too much to carry.

This means that we, all three families, have this year decided to go to Vietnam instead of Thailand, and that’s a pity, because, after all, we have visited Thailand for about 14 years.

— Wicke Wiktorin