Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu was in Phuket in his capacity as President of Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC). He was joined by Assoc Prof Waraporn Samkoset, Chairperson of the OPDC sub-committee assigned to evaluate the promotion and development of high-quality tourism in Patong.
The officials were met by a group of about 80 small hotel operators led by Manosit Jangjob, Acting President of the Phuket Boutique Accommodation Consortium (BAC).
The group met at the parking lot behind Krung Thai Bank in Patong, then moved to show the Deputy Prime Minister some of the hotels that had been foreclosed.
The group pointed out that small hotel operators were still suffering under the current economic conditions, and had been since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.
“As a result, at least 200 small hotels in Patong were subject to confiscation cases and sold at auction,” Mr Manosit said.
“Therefore, he would like the government to help. We request a waiver to allow the opening of the [small] hotels and help to resolve the problematic law, which has been demanded for a long time because we are in a lot of trouble with the hotels forced to close due to COVID,” he added.
The Phuket consortium of boutique hotel operators in August last year filed a formal request pleading for the government to extend the amnesty to upgrade their hotels in order to be registered under the Hotels Act.
Many small hotels fail to legally qualify to register as hotels under the definition under the Hotels Act due to the building requirements.
The amnesty, initially brought into effect by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) in 2016 was extended four years ago, and finally expired on Aug 18, 2021.
“As a result, there are no tourists, no income, and unlicensed hotels have to be closed, resulting in no money to pay the bank,” Mr Moanosit said.
“Potential investors don’t want to take over the hotels because some people who have had their assets seized still have to pay their debts,” he added.
“Let the government have mercy on us, not just be conducive to large hotels,” Mr Manosit said.
The issue had been presented to the relevant agencies many times, Mr Manosit added.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu said he was aware of the situation and confirmed that he had received specific information from many small hotel operators in the same situation.
“Therefore, I would like to urgently take care of this matter, because now there are quite a number of business operators who have already been affected. The subcommittee is processing dozens of other submissions, of which all information has been requested and received in order to summarise and present to the Prime Minister as the next step,” he said.