The operator of one guesthouse in Patong told The Phuket News yesterday (Sept 4) that he first learned of the problem on last Wednesday night (Sept 1), when he went to register guest details through the Thailand SHA web portal ‒ as required by law.
Unable to log in, the guesthouse owner at first presumed it was a password or website problem, but was told by the Thailand SHA web administrators that his guesthouse was no longer registered as a SHA+ venue.
Asked why the SHA status was revoked, the owner was told to contact administrators of the SandboxPhuket project through their Facebook page.
After days of receiving no reply, the owner was finally informed last night that, “We just get the report that you have no hotel license”
The owner was told to have his Sandbox tourists moved to another SHA+ venue. He was also informed that accepting any new Sandbox guests would be illegal.
“If you continue to accept customer, you will act against the law,” said one message.
“Pls ask your customer to move to other hotel,” the next message read.
The guesthouse in Patong is currently enjoying 100% occupancy. Most of the guests are Sandbox tourists, the owner said.
“The guesthouse was approved for SHA in April-June, and for and SHA+ at the end of June,” he added.
The guesthouse was even issued a “SHABA ID” code in order to log in to the Thailand SHA platform to register guest details.
No longer registered as a SHA+ venue, the guesthouse can on longer issue confirmation of prepaid bookings at an SHA+ venue ‒ needed by tourists applying for Certificates of Entry in order to travel to Phuket, the owner explained.
The guesthouse also can no longer issue any “release” documents needed by Sandbox guests to confirm where they stayed as SHA+ guests in completing their 14-day stay on the island. The same “release” document is needed for Sandbox tourists to be able to leave the island to travel to any other parts of Thailand.
“They have shut us down completely without warning. We have a guesthouse license for 1-25 rooms. Everything is in order and we renewed the license in June. We follow the rules to the letter. Our hygiene routines are probably better than anywhere else in Phuket, the owner explained.
His guesthouse is not the only one to have had its SHA+ status revoked, he added.
The owner added that he had no idea what to tell his staff, who were recently brought back on in order to cope with the full bookings. “We have full strength of staff (cleaning, hotel manager and kitchen for breakfast),” the guesthouse owner said.