PHUKET: Phuket Immigration is warning hoteliers they could soon face fines if they fail to register their guests’ details though the agency’s new online database.
Phuket Immigration Superintendent Panuwat Ruamrak made the announcement at an instructional seminar at the ICT Center in Saphan Hin earlier this month.
“After one month, we will look at how the system is performing. We may consider imposing fines on hotels who don’t enter the details,” Col Panuwat said.
After the seminar he explained that the law has long required hotels to register guest details within 24 hours of check-in.
Those failing to do so are subject to a fine of up to 2,000 baht for each unregistered foreigner.
Hotel representatives at the seminar were shown how to register details directly through the Phuket Immigration website.
Details entered into the system include first name, last name, nationality, gender, passport number, visa details including type and class, and date of entry into the country.
Details are also required from guests’ TM6 Arrival/Departure Card, the blue and white card each person must complete before entering Thailand.
The data required are flight number, date of birth and port of entry, but not the tourists’ self-reported yearly income, as is required on the TM6 form.
Hotels are not required to inform guests that the hotel will send their details to Immigration.
“The main point is security and safety. It makes it easier for us to search and check information about foreigners,” said Col Panuwat.
“It is also more convenient for business owners. They don’t have to contact us in person; they can do everything online,” he added.
For access to the Thai-language data-entry page click here.
Phuket Immigration is not alone in the drive to compile such a database. Immigration offices in other provinces have been working on this project since April as well, he said.
Phuket Immigration will share information with other Royal Thai Police divisions, but only on request.
The database will not be open for public searching, nor to other police units.
“Coordination between Immigration and other police is normal, but they can’t access our information by logging into our database,” he said.
Broad statistics will be compiled from the data and publicly released, however.
“We will publish only the numbers of people arriving and leaving by boat and at the airport. The statistics will be posted on our website so that anyone in the tourism industry can see the trends, but it will not be detailed information,” he said.
To date, some 300 hotel businesses have registered with the web portal to use the service.
“I think it has been successful so far, but the numbers who have registered is still low when compared with the total number of hotels and guesthouses on the island, which is more than 1,000. Many owners of rented accommodations thought they didn’t have to register with us, but they do,” Col Panuwat reminded his audience.
Filing false tourist information with Immigration had led to five fraud cases this year, said the colonel.
Korntip Reankrai, manager of the Royal Phawadee Village in Patong, was familiar with the cases.
“There was a group of tourists from the Middle East staying with us three months ago. Once they checked in, we submitted their passport numbers and visa information through the website.
“The following day the police arrived to look for these guests. It turned out that they were involved in credit card fraud,” she added.
— Janpen Upatising
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