This article looks at the hotel license requirements and licenses available in Thailand under the Hotel Act B.E. 2547 and the application procedures.
Under the Hotel Act B.E. 2547 („the Act“), „hotel“ is defined as lodging premises established for commercial purposes to provide temporary accommodation to a traveler or any person for consideration. Hotels, guest houses, resorts, or hostels are types of hotel operation models, which require a hotel license to operate. However, if the building has less than four bedrooms and can occupy a maximum of 20 people, a hotel license is exempted.
Types of hotel license
According to the Ministerial Regulations on the Types and Guidelines on Hotel Business Operation B.E. 2551 (the „Regulation“), hotel licenses can be subdivided into four different types. The main differences are the facilities provided in the hotel and the application fee. However, it must be noted that the fee will be calculated upon applying to the local District Office will take into account the total area of the hotel when doing the fee calculation.
Hotel Type 1 shall contain only guest rooms;
Hotel Type 2 shall contain guest rooms, dining rooms or restaurants or kitchen;
Hotel Type 3 shall include guest rooms, dining rooms or restaurants or kitchen, and entertainment venue or conference venue; and
Hotel Type 4 shall include guest rooms, dining rooms or restaurants or kitchen, entertainment venue, and conference venue.
Hotel Type 1 must not have more than 50 guest rooms with a total area of not less than 8 square meters per room, not including toilets and balconies. Hotel Type 2 must have a total area of not less than 8 square meters per room, not including toilets and balconies. Hotel Type 3 and 4 must have a total area of not less than 14 square meters per room, not including toilets and balconies. If there are less than 80 guest rooms, then entertainment venues are prohibited.
Before submitting the hotel license application, the hotel building must comply with the Building Control Act B.E. 2522, and the building permit granted by the local District Office must indicate that the purpose of the building is for operating a hotel. Additionally, a building inspection license (usually issued after the completion of the building) must be granted before the hotel license can be applied.
Based on the Regulation, the following standard rules apply: 1) hotels may not be located near historical or religious sites as they may block the scenery or cause cultural disturbances to such sites, 2) entrance to the hotel must not cause traffic problems, 3) the location of the hotel must not be endangered to the health of hotel guests, and 4) the location of the hotel must not affect the business operation of nearby hotels. Other obligations indicated under the Regulation include a reception area, telephones for communication within and outside of the hotel, first aid kits, and 24 hours security service. Furthermore, room numbers must be clearly indicated on each guest room’s door.
After the hotel license has been granted, a hotel manager must be appointed and registered with the local District Office. After the hotel manager has been registered, the local District Office will provide a document to the hotel manager as a guideline for hotel operation. The document’s content depends on the type of hotel license granted and the size of the hotel; as a result, the document is issued on a case by case basis.
The procedures to apply for a hotel license can be summarized per the following:
1. Application of building permit at the local District Office.
2. Application of hotel license at the local Provincial Office.
3. Inspection of hotel building structures by related government agencies.
4. Issuance of hotel license by the local Provincial Office.
The process to obtain a hotel license may take approximately six months but may vary depending on the hotel’s location. The hotel license is valid for five years starting from the date of the issuance and may be renewed.
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