Government warns Phuket hotels on tax evasion

THE Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) is threatening to take legal action against one-third of all hotel operators in Phuket for failing to pay the controversial hotel room tax.

The organization hopes an awareness-raising campaign – backed by the threat of legal measures – can help it raise hotel room tax revenues from last year’s 60 million baht to 70mn this year.

OrBorJor President Paiboon Upatising said he was confident the organization would hit this target because the number of hoteliers paying the tax was continually rising.

The hotel room tax, which is levied at 1% of room revenues, was introduced amid widespread opposition from hoteliers in 2000.

Mr Paiboon said the OrBorJor would launch a campaign to help hoteliers understand the importance of paying the hotel room tax and the benefits it brought to the tourism industry,

The OrBorJor invests the money raised from the tax into developing the island and its tourism industry, he said.

However, if hoteliers still fail to pay the tax after this campaign, the OrBorJor will be forced to take legal action, he warned.

Nevertheless, Mr Paiboon said he was confident that those operating outside the system would soon be tempted in by the privileges that came with paying the tax.

For example, hoteliers who have paid the tax get first choice on booths in OrBorJor-organized tourism roadshows.

The OrBorJor chief said that this year the organization had allocated 60mn baht to boosting tourism. Of this, 20mn baht will be spent on organizing road shows, both within Thailand and abroad, to emphasize Phuket’s readiness to welcome more tourists.

Aside from this, the OrBorJor will expand installation of CCTV cameras from Phuket City to Rassada and Rawai subdistricts.

The OrBorJor also funds the provision of lifeguards at beaches around Phuket, which Mr Paiboon claims have so far saved more than 1,000 lives.

— Manager Online

Phuket News

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