[Thailand] Our Submission on Hotel License Exemptions for Small Hotels

On November 10th, 2022, ATTIA submitted its comments to Thailand’s Department of Provincial Affairs (DOPA), highlighting the need for a consistent approach to regulating small hotels – or accommodation with up to 10 rooms or capacity for 30 guests.

Download our full comments here.

ATTIA understands that the Department of Provincial Authority (DOPA) is redrafting the 2008 Ministerial Regulation which clarifies the Hotel Act B.E. 2547 (2004). Currently, “non-hotel
accommodation” with 4 or less rooms, and 20 or less guests, are exempted from acquiring a
hotel license.

On the one hand, ATTIA is thankful that DOPA will be maintaining a general exemption of up
to 4 rooms/20 guests for hotel licenses. From our perspective as online travel platforms, this is
a positive development that will benefit many homestay and boutique accommodation providers
that we list in Thailand. For instance, heritage buildings functioning as small accommodation
providers would also no longer be in a legal ‘gray area’.

However, we are also concerned that DOPA may be withdrawing its original plans for a
general hotel license exemption of up to 10 rooms/30 guests. We have heard that, following
advocacy from some hotel stakeholders, DOPA is proposing to limit this exemption only to
accommodation built before 19th September 2016.

This means that newer small accommodation built after 2016 would continue to operate in a
legal ‘gray area’. If they are required to apply for the hotel license, it is highly likely that they would not meet the stringent requirements of the Building Control Act, B.E. 2522 (1979).
This is since they would be held to the same standard as conventional large hotels in terms of
building structures, safety and environmental requirements.

This restriction could jeopardize an important category of small accommodation providers –
ranging from large homestay facilities with hosts, hostels, to small boutique properties. Given
the short notice and retroactive application of the 2016 cut-off date, it does not seem fair that
owners of recently-built properties should face such legal uncertainty or pay high renovation
costs to meet the Building Control Act’s requirements.

As supporters of small accommodation, we ask at the very least for a clear regulatory
framework that provides guidance to accommodation providers of all sizes. Specifically, we
recommend that DOPA either:

  • (i) Propose a general 10 room/30 guest exemption, regardless of when the small
    accommodation was built, or;
  • (ii) Relax the Building Control Act requirements as it applies to the affected