About 60 percent of Pattaya’s hotels and guesthouses are operating illegally, with government officials about to launch a crackdown to either bring them into compliance or shut them down.
Speaking at the Sept. 14 Pattaya Business & Tourism Association meeting at the Grand Sole Hotel, President Sinchai Wattanasartsathorn estimated only 40 percent of Pattaya’s approximately 2,600 accommodations providers are legally registered and meet standards for safety and hospitality.
The Cabinet on Aug. 19 enacted new rules requiring illegal hotels nationwide to meet legal registration requirements within five years or be closed. Sinchai said the PBTA will now work with law enforcement and city officials to begin inspecting all lodging providers and ensure they are legally registered.
Anawat Burapachon, a civil engineer with the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning and the Interior Ministry, told the PBTA that, historically, the cost and strictness of legal hotel building codes and licensing was too high for some entrepreneurs. But rather than find another business venture, many entrepreneurs simply ignored the law and opened anyway.
As is so often the case in Thailand, the laws were not enforced and illegal hotels and guesthouses flourished, soon comprising the majority of accommodations providers in tourist towns like Pattaya.
In addition to offering lower quality of facilities and service that damaged Thailand’s tourism reputation, these second-rate inns also fail to meet safety requirements, such as having proper fire-escape routes and locations too close to the street.
Anawat said the current government has recognized the problem and is making an effort to tackle it.
Sinchai said the association will soon begin reaching out to Pattaya businesses to inform them of the new regulations and push them to bring their facilities into compliance with the law.