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Rough stuff: More than half of Phuket's accommodation is illegitimate

Shock Phuket Figures Show 'Non-Legal' Tourism

Wednesday, September 8, 2010
News Analysis

THE SCALE of just one segment of Phuket's lawlessness was revealed today in figures disclosing that more than half of Phuket's accommodation is, in effect, not fully legal.

And the still-growing official Phuket tally of 702 hotels, resorts and guesthouses, comprising 42,684 rooms, demonstrates plainly why the number of tourists to Phuket may be increasing, but there are an even faster-increasing number of establishments squabbling for the extra pie.

The extraordinary total of 61.12 percent - or 429 establishments - that do not have complete legal standing affects the potential tax income that the island hopes to derive to provide such services as lifeguards and the protection of the island's environment from illegal blue pipes running into canals or the Andaman Sea.

How can an island with hopes of establishing and maintaining an international reputation for quality tourism get itself into such a fine mess? That question wasn't asked, or answered today.

But at least the meeting of representatives from Phuket's local authorities, the Hotels Association, Phuket Provincial Hall officials, the Natural Resources and the Environment Department and the Thai Hotels Association clarified the scale of the problem.

Vice Governor Niwit Aroonrat, who chaired the gathering at the Phuket Merlin Hotel in Phuket City, raised the issue of whether there should be an amnesty to regularise the situation. He will head a special committee to investigate the matter further.

Here are the official Provincial Hall figures:

Total Phuket accommodation establishments: 702
Total Phuket number of rooms: 42,684

Total Phuket establishments with all permits: 273 (38.89 percent)
Establishments without permission: 429, 13,712 rooms (51.12 percent)

Total: 310 establishments, 19,099 rooms
With permits: 140, 12,856 rooms
Without permits: 170, 6243 rooms

KATHU, including Patong
Total: 317 establishments, 18,544 rooms
With permits: 88, 11,275 rooms
Without permits: 229, 7269 rooms

Total: 75 establishments, 5041 rooms
With permits: 45, 4841 rooms
Without permits: 30, 200 rooms
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


If it was only in the hotel industry, it would fine, but unfortunately it is the same problem with the too many undeclared and illegal businesses such as in the diving industry, boating charter, motor and car rental businesses, illegal tour guides and the list is so long that we may say that most of Phuket residents, Thais and foreigners alike are dealing business in complete illegality with Thai laws.

Unfortunately that had happen because greedy corrupt civil servants close their eyes and blame others. By the way, those properly declared and paying full taxes are the losers since too long time.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 8, 2010 20:23


and I suppose all these unregulated establishments do not adhere to fire safety regulations and the like, they should really just be closed until they get the correct regulations and now is the time to do it before the high season kicks in, No amnesty just do it, another grey area where tourist lives could be at risk through lack of regulation.

Posted by Michael on September 8, 2010 21:23


I wonder exactly what they mean by 'permits'. Is that something that is issued by the Thai Hotels Association?

If so, then they have engineered this situation themselves.

When I built/opened a small hotel (10 rooms) in 2006, I obtained the necessary restaurant licence, alcohol/cigarette licences and OrBorTor approvals etc etc.

When I approached the Thai Hotels Association to register with them, they refused, saying that the hotel didn't have enough rooms to allow registration.

So we operated (and continue to operate) the business in full accordance with OrBorTor rules, company tax/employee/social security contribution rules, guest registration with immigration etc, but could never persuade the Hotels Association to accept our registration.

I assume this is also the situation with many other small hotels and guesthouses.

As far as I am concerned, we are operating 100% legally, but the Thai Hotels Association seem unwilling to accept registration by smaller establishments such as ourselves.

Posted by Simon Luttrell on September 9, 2010 10:20


51%? 51% ? Unacceptable ! Yet I can't buy a wireless aircard without a work permit.
Phuket is a train out of control and heading for a curve.

Posted by Ripley on September 9, 2010 18:06


One question which has been bothering me for a long time. Are the patrons of these hotel/guest houses insured? In fact, is anyone who occupies any accommodation here insured?

Posted by Sudo Nim on September 14, 2010 14:47

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