The security deposits, called “Collateral”, are collected by the Bureau of Tourism Business and Guide Registration and will see sweeping increases introduced before the end of the year, said Pattara Lamultree, a legal official at the Tourism Business and Guide Registration Office in Phuket.
“All tourism businesses will be affected,” he said. “The new fees and amounts to be held as collateral were set at a meeting on July 14. They are expected to be ratified next month and brought into effect after a period of 120 days.”
Companies operating tours outbound from Thailand will see their collateral deposits rise from B200,000 to B2 million, while companies bringing tourists into Thailand will be required to submit B1 million as collateral instead of the B100,000 required now, Mr Pattara explained.
Companies operating domestic tours within Thailand will see their collateral deposits rise from B50,000 to B200,000, he added.
“Many companies have caused damage to tourism and we have to pay more,” Mr Pattara said. “For example, one company took a lot of bookings for tours to Japan, but the company shut down and the operators fled with the money.
“The government had to pay B4 million in refunds to the people who had booked tours with them,” he said.
The Department of Tourism will take the current review as an opportunity to increase all fees levied by the Tourism Business and Guide Registration Office. The fees have not budged since the office was formed in 2008, Mr Pattara noted.
“All fees will increase, including applications to register new tourism businesses and applications to register as a guide,” he said.
“Also, fees for two-year renewals of tourism business registrations will increase and the Department of Tourism will introduce the requirement for all guides to undergo a test in order for their guide licences to be renewed,” he said.
Current fees are set at B500 to register or renew a license for an outbound or inbound tourism business, and B300 to register or renew a domestic tourism business.