Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The Phuket Gazette wishes Governor Tri Augkaradacha the best of luck in his efforts to make legal the unknown thousands of unregistered hotels on the island – he is certainly going to need it.

According to figures from Gov Tri’s office [see page 8, current issue of the Gazette, or click here for our digital version], there are just 279 hotels with a total of 31,014 rooms legally registered with Phuket province under the Hotel Act.

But there are an additional 43,000 rooms in more than 700 "accommodation establishments" registered with another government agency: the Tourism Authority of Thailand. The actual number of these hotel rooms in Phuket is undoubtedly much higher because all establishments with more than four rooms for rent on a daily basis are classified as hotels under the Hotel Act.

Phuket Tourist Association president Somboon Jirayus estimates the number of rooms-for-rent by the day in guesthouses, serviced apartments and similar establishments at more than 50,000.

Typically-priced at about 500 baht a night, a room in one of these establishments is clean and comfortable, air-conditioned, equipped with wi-fi internet and a cable television service with at least 50 channels.

While the ubiquity of so many cheap lodgings continues to lure in ever more visitors, many in the middle and upper segments of the hotel business cry foul that so many of these establishments are able to operate outside the law, avoiding taxes and ignoring safety regulations.

We understand and certainly applaud their protestations, particularly with regard to issues of safety and hygiene.

Gov Tri notes that lax enforcement by the government in the past has allowed the current situation to develop, and he is realistic in believing that some “negotiation” may therefore be needed to correct it.

We doubt, however, that simply trying to persuade illegal operators to register “for their own benefit” is going to lead to significant change. After all, how many of us would actually pay our income taxes honestly, fully and punctually if there were no threat of an audit hanging over our heads?

Disincentives to register are especially high among guesthouse and serviced apartment owners, whose guests are predominantly independent travelers not on package tours. In their view, registration as a hotel simply opens a Pandora’s Box of new rules and regulations that would need to be adhered to at considerable cost.

The need to comply would also doubtless expose accommodation providers to additional sub rosa payment and 'protection' demands from some of Phuket's more entrepreneurial government officers.

It is also worth noting that some registered hotels have 'dug in' and refuse to pay the one-percent room revenue tax imposed several years ago by the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization, despite periodic threats of legal action by that authority.

Ministerial regulations issued in 2008 to clarify the terms of the national Hotel Act have likewise been largely ignored in Phuket, mainly, we think, because so many operators have no real incentive to comply.
– Phuket Gazette

1

"The need to comply would also doubtless expose accommodation providers to additional sub rosa payment and 'protection' demands from some of Phuket's more entrepreneurial government officers." Ahhhh... 'Man's work is from sun-to-sun, but a scammer's work is never done.'

Posted by Relic September 25, 2011 12:36:24PM

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Thai Administrations should have only one list to share in order to be able to control all types of hotels in Phuket Province. Then, all rogue unregistered hotels, guesthouses, serviced apartments, condos, house rentals and similar establishments should get audited by Revenue Department to evaluate how much tax fraud is done, and to fine wrongdoers. Competition is good but those with trump cards are the winners so far.

Posted by Whistle-Blower September 25, 2011 12:42:28PM

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3

"Typically-priced at about 500 baht a night..." Please can you send me a list of these "clean and comfortable, air-conditioned establishments"?

Posted by Frank Heise September 25, 2011 01:45:53PM

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4

"Typically-priced at about 500 baht a night..." Please can you send me a list of these "clean and comfortable, air-conditioned establishments"?

Posted by Frank Heise

Just look around you. They have no fears to advertise - just look at Rawai or sai yuan

Posted by hotelier September 25, 2011 05:25:35PM

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5

"Typically-priced at about 500 baht a night..." Please can you send me a list of these "clean and comfortable, air-conditioned establishments"?

Posted by Frank Heise

They didn't mention that the figure of 500 baht a night only applies to low season, but there are indeed plenty of hotels around in Patong for that amount. I stayed at Hotel Sole which is located on one of the side roads off Sai Sam Road a few metres from Jungceylon for 500 baht a night in September last year. It was clean with all mod cons, but the mattress felt like it was made of solid concrete.

Posted by Terry September 26, 2011 01:42:02AM

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6

We ran a restaurant in Phuket, very clean kitchens and good food, but we found we couldn't compete with the little unregistered/unregulated ones as we were paying a lot of tax and they were not. Needless-to-say, we are closing next year. Seems the authorities are quite happy ensuring that everybody is not running by the same rules. Food poisoning is common here but, hey, that is how they want it, I guess. Very sad.

Posted by brand name September 26, 2011 07:12:52AM

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7

"Typically-priced at about 500 baht a night..." Please can you send me a list of these "clean and comfortable, air-conditioned establishments"?

Posted by Frank Heise

They didn't mention that the figure of 500 baht a night only applies to low season, but there are indeed plenty of hotels around in Patong for that amount. I stayed at Hotel Sole which is located on one of the side roads off Sai Sam Road a few metres from Jungceylon for 500 baht a night in September last year. It was clean with all mod cons, but the mattress felt like it was made of solid concrete.

Posted by Terry

No extra charge for the concrete mattress? :)) Actually, Phuket Town has clean guesthouses in that price range with all the amenities mentioned in this story, but you won't be staying at a beach resort for that. What I like about Phuket is the huge range of prices for rooms – everything from 350 baht a night to 30,000 baht a night.

Posted by Dan Curtis September 26, 2011 08:06:52AM

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0    0

7

"Typically-priced at about 500 baht a night..." Please can you send me a list of these "clean and comfortable, air-conditioned establishments"?

Posted by Frank Heise

They didn't mention that the figure of 500 baht a night only applies to low season, but there are indeed plenty of hotels around in Patong for that amount. I stayed at Hotel Sole which is located on one of the side roads off Sai Sam Road a few metres from Jungceylon for 500 baht a night in September last year. It was clean with all mod cons, but the mattress felt like it was made of solid concrete.

Posted by Terry

No extra charge for the concrete mattress? :)) Actually, Phuket Town has clean guesthouses in that price range with all the amenities mentioned in this story, but you won't be staying at a beach resort for that. What I like about Phuket is the huge range of prices for rooms – everything from 350 baht a night to 30,000 baht a night.

Posted by Dan Curtis September 26, 2011 08:06:52AM

Reply

0    0

6

We ran a restaurant in Phuket, very clean kitchens and good food, but we found we couldn't compete with the little unregistered/unregulated ones as we were paying a lot of tax and they were not. Needless-to-say, we are closing next year. Seems the authorities are quite happy ensuring that everybody is not running by the same rules. Food poisoning is common here but, hey, that is how they want it, I guess. Very sad.

Posted by brand name September 26, 2011 07:12:52AM

Reply

0    0

5

"Typically-priced at about 500 baht a night..." Please can you send me a list of these "clean and comfortable, air-conditioned establishments"?

Posted by Frank Heise

They didn't mention that the figure of 500 baht a night only applies to low season, but there are indeed plenty of hotels around in Patong for that amount. I stayed at Hotel Sole which is located on one of the side roads off Sai Sam Road a few metres from Jungceylon for 500 baht a night in September last year. It was clean with all mod cons, but the mattress felt like it was made of solid concrete.

Posted by Terry September 26, 2011 01:42:02AM

Reply

0    0

4

"Typically-priced at about 500 baht a night..." Please can you send me a list of these "clean and comfortable, air-conditioned establishments"?

Posted by Frank Heise

Just look around you. They have no fears to advertise - just look at Rawai or sai yuan

Posted by hotelier September 25, 2011 05:25:35PM

Reply

0    0

3

"Typically-priced at about 500 baht a night..." Please can you send me a list of these "clean and comfortable, air-conditioned establishments"?

Posted by Frank Heise September 25, 2011 01:45:53PM

Reply

0    0

2

Thai Administrations should have only one list to share in order to be able to control all types of hotels in Phuket Province. Then, all rogue unregistered hotels, guesthouses, serviced apartments, condos, house rentals and similar establishments should get audited by Revenue Department to evaluate how much tax fraud is done, and to fine wrongdoers. Competition is good but those with trump cards are the winners so far.

Posted by Whistle-Blower September 25, 2011 12:42:28PM

Reply

0    0

1

"The need to comply would also doubtless expose accommodation providers to additional sub rosa payment and 'protection' demands from some of Phuket's more entrepreneurial government officers." Ahhhh... 'Man's work is from sun-to-sun, but a scammer's work is never done.'

Posted by Relic September 25, 2011 12:36:24PM

Reply

0    0

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