Since the end of April, ten establishments have been fined B8,000 each for not reporting at all or for underreporting guests. Word has got around and other places have been lining up to make their reports.
Pol Lt Piyawith Sitthilo told The Phuket News today “Since April, the number of the hotels and accommodation services reported to Immigration has increased by 30 per cent.
“We continue to push for as many establishments as possible to report.”
Immigration officers have been holding seminars for groups of hotels or guest houses, and also continue to visit individual places to advise them on how to comply.
“We have to collect the information about foreigners who come to stay in Phuket and [hotel records] are a good source. If a foreigner commits a crime, we can track them down to the last place they stayed, or if a foreigner is reported missing, hotel records can help find them.
“We have fined accommodation establishments that failed to report to us after we launched this campaign, or reported inaccurately. Some places, for example, had 80 guests but reported only 10 so we fined them.
“After we fined them, other places started to report and to call us.
“We have tried to publicise our measures to every hotel and guesthouse so that they are aware of how important this is.
“Yesterday (June 5) we called a group of owners to a seminar at the Immigration office – we have done this several times – and we check on every tourist area almost daily.”
Many small hotels and guesthouses prefer to operate under the radar in order to dodge taxes, and worry that reporting to Immigration may expose them to the tax man. However, it seems that the fines levied since the end of April have had a significant effect.
The law applies not only to hotels and guest houses but also to rental villas and even private homes.
Section 38 of the 1979 Immigration Act states, “House owners, heads of household, landlords or managers of hotels who accommodate foreign nationals on a temporary basis who stay in the kingdom legally, must notify the local immigration authorities within 24 hours from the time of arrival of the foreign national.”
For more information visit the Thailand Immigration website and click on “Notification of residence for foreigners.”