Amendments to tourism and guide business legislation expected ahead of AEC

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BANGKOK, 28 February 2013 The Bureau of Tourism and Guide Business Registration of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has recently held a meeting where representatives from hotel and tourism industries from across the country as well as legal experts exchanged their ideas and provided suggestions to improve the law governing tour guide business before the ASEAN Economic Community takes place in 2015. 

Tourism Department Deputy Director-General Kajorn Veerajai said Thailand’s entry into the AEC would bring both good and bad impacts to the tourism industry. This has prompted the Department of Tourism to encourage those involved in the sector to make use of the opportunities provided by the AEC.

However, he said, some sections in the Tourism and Guide Business Act 2008 have made Thai tourism difficult to expand. Such obstacles include restrictions in obtaining permits as tour guides and foreign share holding in local businesses, just to name a few.

Mr. Kajorn added that there are not enough tour guides in specialized fields while no incentives are provided to boost operators in the industry. The Bureau of Tourism and Guide Business Registration Director General Wannasiri Morakul said an amendment to the law needs approvals from stakeholders in the industry.

The Department of Tourism has, therefore, tasked Burapha University with a job to conduct a comparative study on tourism-related laws in 9 other ASEAN countries and use the result in modernizing the Thai law. The move will be beneficial to Thailand in time of the liberalization of service trade under the AEC in 2015. The Department of Tourism will this year concentrate on exchanging ideas on tourism business practices with other ASEAN nations, after which a bill on Tourism and Guide Businesses will be drafted and is expected to be proposed to a House committee by the end of the year.