PHUKET: Leaders of the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) today went out to explain the proposed new hotel tax to the island’s hotels. They found themselves facing hostile and querulous audiences of mostly middle-level hotel employees – hotel owners and senior managers mostly stayed away. Neither the Phuket Tourism Association (PTA) nor the Thai Hotels Association (THA) was represented. In the morning a meeting was held at the Thavorn Grand Plaza Hotel in Phuket Town, while an afternoon session was held at the Kata Beach Resort. Attendees were concerned mainly with how the OrBorJor would use the revenue, and the possible penalties for not collecting the tax. Hanchai Chantarachota, chairman of the OrBorJor’s tourism committee, said that the OrBorJor plans to use tax revenue to continue some of the successful projects started in the past year, such as the beach life guards, and to fund new tourism-related projects such as putting up new road signs and building a tourist information center. Dr Prasit Koysiripong, president of the OrBorJor, told the meetings that hotels that do not pay the tax would receive warnings. If after that they still do not pay, then penalties will be imposed. The maximum penalties are a jail term of six months, or a fine of 10,000 baht, or both.
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