New hotel act is in interests of business and guests says PBTA
Following changes to the 1935 legislation governing hotel
businesses that came into effect in May this year, the Pattaya Mail
spoke with Thanet Supornsaharungsi, Pattaya Business and Tourism Association
(PBTA) president, and association registrar Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn on
how the new regulations would affect the business.
“The new legislation has many important changes to its
predecessor,” said Thanes. “It requires hotels to have specific licenses
and approvals. The ministerial regulations are now law and are yet to be
fully enforced, and because of this the province and interior ministry will
allow existing hotels a grace period in finalising their licenses and
allowing them to submit the relevant documentation.
Thanet Supornsaharungsi (centre), Pattaya Business and Tourism Association
president, and Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn (right), PBTA registrar, talk
about the changes to the hotel legislation.
“But when the law is enforced, hotel management must
submit the documents for approval of a business license as a hotel.”
Thanet said that the new regulations make it clear that
if the premises are not classified as a hotel they are unable to accept
guests on a day-to-day basis. If the legislation is fully enforced, then
even a single-room establishment taking guests on a daily basis must
register as a hotel.
For Pattaya and other large cities such as Bangkok and
Chiang Mai, there is also the issue of town planning departments becoming
involved. If the business is not a hotel and is in the red zone (or
commercial district) it can be registered as a hotel if the building meets
the required safety standards under the hotels act. This can be backdated.
“But if the business wants to register as a hotel and
has 80 rooms and above there also needs to be an environmental impact study
before the approval is handed out,” said the PBTA president.
If the building is not a hotel but is in the commercial
district, an investigation will be carried out by the town planning
department. The opportunity to correct deficiencies is given following the
“The association (PBTA) is coordinating with the
private sector to make things easier because we see there are many who do
not intend to break the law but are not well versed in the finer points of
the new laws,” said Thanes.
“If we don’t do this, and help them follow the
system, it will all be half hearted for them, and the government will also
not be able to collect the full taxes. It would make it more difficult to
control the business. This is where discussions are needed.”
Thanes said that the grace period is specifically for
those businesses that began operations before the legislation came into
effect. “But for those who knew what was happening, continued with their
project and failed to follow or meet the standards, we cannot help them.
“There are also currently 100-200 hotel premises not
inside the commercial zone but the quality of the building and standards
have been met under the current act.”
Thanes said the new legislation focuses more on safety
than previously, where the old laws focussed on parking availability leaving
the safety issue wide open and causing many problems. “This is more
specifically in the commercial zones but the main problem with this at the
moment is the zoning issue itself,” said Thanet.
Both men said that the new hotels act will make things
clearer and easier for operators and especially for the hotel guests. The
new law also states that hotels must display their rates clearly and guests
will be informed ahead of time about price changes.
They also revealed that the private sector participated
in forming at least 40 percent of the new legislation, not as in previous
times when it was automatically handed down by the government.
“I think that many groups in the business will review the laws and
assist with any changes that need to be made. This will benefit everyone in
the long term,” said Thanet.
Taking care of the kids during hemorrhagic fever epidemic
Assistant Professor Dr Somchai Pattana-Anek, director at
Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, presented a seminar on June 4 about the
precautions that can be taken to avoid contracting hemorrhagic fever. The
event took place in Meeting Room 1 of Bangkok Pattaya Hospital and was well
attended by the public and by children from the Public Life Center and Child
Puttachart Dumrongkijchaiporn, pediatrician at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital,
gives a talk on hemorrhagic fever.
Dr Somchai said the seminar was aimed at providing
information for parents to understand how to take care of their children,
who are particularly at risk during the rainy season, a time when
hemorrhagic fever can be easily spread.
Also giving a talk was Dr Puttachart Dumrongkijchaiporn,
pediatrician at Bangkok Pattaya Hospital, who described the symptoms and
potency of the disease, and patient treatment.
Bangkok Pattaya Hospital also demonstrated blood
inspection with a microscope and a hemorrhagic fever examination done by
PCR, polymerase chain reaction, which gives very fast and accurate results.
One parent said that this seminar was useful because
hemorrhagic fever is very much in the news right now and people need more
information. A 13-year-old child named Nong Phoom had recently passed away
from hemorrhagic fever.
Reports of hemorrhagic fever from January to May this year list 8,983
cases from all over the country and 16 deaths. The number of patients was 47
percent higher than for the same period last year. Provinces where vigilance
is particularly necessary are Rayong, Srakaew, Srisaket, Roi Et, Surat
Thani, Krabi, Prachuabkirikhan, Pichit and Nakhon Sawan.
Adoption project at Khao Kheow Open Zoo raises awareness of animals in the wild
The Adoptions Project underway at Khao Kheow Open Zoo is
a way both to help the conservation of animals and to develop awareness
amongst the public that there is a responsibility on the part of society to
ensure the safety of animals in the wild.
tiger (or hippo, bear, zebra, giraffe, white rhino, barking deer, elephant,
tapir, lion, gibbon, hornbill, pelican, heron, or crane) at Khao Kheow Open
By offering to be “adoption parents” for a certain
period, or permanently, people have the opportunity of watching “their”
animal progress through various stages of its life. The zoo keeps the
parents updated on the animal’s progress, and they have special visiting
Amongst the species at Khao Kheow are hippopotamus, bear,
zebra, giraffe, white rhinoceros, barking deer, elephant, tapir, tiger,
lion, gibbon, hornbill, pelican, heron, and crane.
By donating an amount of between 100 and 900 baht,
adoption parents can enjoy one free visit within 30 days. A monthly
membership donating 1,000-3,000 baht allows free visits during one month.
Yearly memberships are available by donating from 3,000 baht upwards.
Nanthiporn Petnoi, who is responsible for the Adoption Project, said this
is a good way for parents to interest their children in animals and nature,
and to help them develop responsible attitudes. Those interested can contact
tel 038 298195. Fees can be transferred through Krung Thai Bank, Sriracha
Branch, account number 208-1-72002-7.
PBTA prepares to join information superhighway
The hot topic at the monthly meeting of the Pattaya
Business and Tourism Association was to upgrade current websites to promote
the region on the World Wide Web.
Thanet Supornsaharungsi, PBTA president chaired the May
meeting at the Green Park Hotel.
Thanet Supornsaharungsi, PBTA president, Jamroon Visavachaiyaphant, PBTA
vice president and Sanga Kijsamrej.
The issue of promoting and updating the two websites
pattayabusiness.org and pattayatourism.com is aimed at increasing the
city’s profile through the internet.
Waiyawit Tantsawat, PBTA advisor, said that as Pattaya
grows the need to provide information becomes more necessary. He outlined
that the websites would eventually feature 9 languages with the aid of the
Bangkok Pattaya Hospital’s International Department aiding in the
translation process. Initial costs were set at 10,000 baht per site and an
annual fee of 6,000 baht each. Waiyawit said he would be the person to
update the site on a daily basis.
The idea was met favorably; however, Thanet said that 9
languages would too much to update all at once, and that the only mainstream
languages be used such as Thai and English. General information in other
languages could late be implemented.
Other topics at the meeting included the current water
crisis in Pattaya. Many members revealed that businesses and residents were
drastically affected by the problem and the issue needed to addressed
Thanet responded by saying that they would have to wait until allocated
government funding came through and that plans have already been laid to
provide short and long term solutions to the water problem.
THAI urged to maintain passenger safety standards
The family of a Thai Airways captain killed in a crash in
1998 today called on the national flag carrier to maintain passenger safety
standards, while repeating denials of the airline’s claim that the
accident in the country’s southern Surat Thani Province had been caused by
The pilot’s daughters, who are among family members
suing the airline for Bt130.5 million, spoke to TNA of the family’s
continuing sorrow at the loss of their father and the anger they felt over
the continuing blame that was heaped on the head of the deceased captain by
the families of the 101 people who died in the incident.
The Airbus A310-200, en route from Bangkok to Surat
Thani, crashed in a swamp on its third landing attempt at its destination
airport in December 1998.
Although 45 passengers miraculously survived, 101
passengers and crew members were killed.
After the incident, the airline blamed Capt. Pinit
Vetchsilp, whose daughters Miss Ratchaneewan and Miss Wannit Vetchsilp
opened their hearts to reporters.
The daughters, who claim that the incident was caused by
poor aircraft maintenance, said that the condemnation from relatives of
those killed had been so severe that the location for their father’s
funeral had been changed at the last minute to avoid disruption.
According to the two daughters, the airline had failed to
maintain the decade-old plane, which had previously been reported with
technical problems. The family is suing THAI for violating individual
rights, defamation, loss of income and psychological damage.
Miss Ratchaneewan warned the airline that even if it won
the civil suit, it should pay more attention to passenger safety standards
in order to prevent future accidents. (TNA)