Is your next big investment going to be in the Thailand hotel business? If you are a foreigner looking to startup a hotel, guest house or hotel, you may do so through a limited company. In the case that you are a Thai national, the license may be requested for your sole proprietorship or partnership. A manager must be appointed to oversee the operations of the hotel.
The Board of Investment promotes companies operating hotels with at least 100 rooms or with a minimum investment of 500 million Thai Baht (excluding cost of land and working capital). Promoted hotels located in one of the special investment promotion provinces are entitled to corporate income tax exemption, exemption on import duties on machineries and raw materials, as well as non-tax incentives. Promoted hotels located in other provinces are eligible for exemption on import duties on raw materials and non-tax incentives.
If you do not fall under the category of BOI promoted businesses, you may also operate a hotel, guesthouse or hostel through a Thai limited company which would require the company to have majority Thai shareholding and a Thai director to sign for the license application. As a US national, you may also own and operate the hotel under the Treaty of Amity without actually purchasing the property since the Treaty does not entitle you to land ownership. The hotel must also apply for the food, alcohol (retail) and/or entertainment license in the case that it will serve food or drinks.
Prior to finalizing a location for the hotel, it is important to ensure that the construction permit of the building to be used for the hotel allows for the said purpose under the requirements of the Building Control Act. Once the construction permit allows you to operate a hotel in the property, you may proceed with the application for a hotel license at the Department of Provincial Administration for hotels located in Bangkok, or from the Provincial Governor’s Office for other areas. The hotel premises will also need to be approved by the Health, Environmental and Construction authorities after they carry out an inspection.
The consideration period for the application is approximately six months. The license is valid for five years at a time and must be renewed prior to the expiry date.