This is Part II of a blog contribution that discusses the requirements for obtaining a permit to run a hotel under Thai laws and regulations:

3. The Applicant for the Hotel License ("Hotel Operator")

The Act also sets forth that the hotel operator, who is the owner or the operator of the hotel and applicant for the Hotel License, can be either an individual person or a juristic person. Section 16 of the Hotel Act stipulates certain circumstances that may preclude the applicant as a hotel operator. If the hotel operator is a juristic person, the managing partner must comply with the aforesaid requirements.

According to the Thai Foreign Business Act (as amended B.E. 2542, Annex 3), hotel undertakings are not permitted for foreigners. Therefore, private or public limited liability companies that engage in this business shall have Thai shareholding at a rate of 51% or more. The director of the company must be Thai (if there is 1 non-Thai director, there must be 2 additional Thai directors).

4. The Hotel License

Pursuant to the new Hotel Act, a hotel operation license will be valid for a period of five years from the date of issuance (hereto Hotel Act section 19). Current hotel operators who have already obtained a hotel license under the previous Hotel Act (B.E. 2478, 1935, as amended) remain license holders under the new Hotel Act. Their licenses remain valid, and the license holders are able to continue operating their business until the licenses expire (hereto Hotel Act section 62).

The Hotel License is transferable to third parties if they transferee meets the aforementioned statutory requirements of the Hotel Act, Section 16.

Remark: Additionally, the building of the hotel must comply with the Building Control Act (B.E. 2522, 1979, as amended) and the building permit must stipulate that the building may be used as a hotel (if located within the jurisdiction of the Building Control Act). In certain cases, other sub-licenses and permits are required to obtain the Hotel License, e.g. restaurant license, entertainment license, service vehicle license, generator permit, fuel storage permit, etc.

5. Application Procedure

The application process requirements include that various government agencies (local and provincial) are involved.

The procedure includes the following steps:

  1. Application for a specific construction license at the District Office, which is signed and which should be filed by the civil engineer or architect;
  2. Application at the Provincial Office, which will forward the application to
  3. The Health, Environmental and Construction Authorities who will each have to inspect and approve the building and
  4. Issuance of the license by the Provincial Office.

The process takes approximately six months but may vary depending on the location of the hotel.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.