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Rooms tax break for island hotels

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Rooms tax break for island hotels | Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: In order to help soften the blow to Phuket’s tourism industry caused the tsunami, the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) is exempting all hotels from the controversial 1% rooms tax for the first nine months of 2005.

Explaining why the exemption was being applied to all hotels, and not just those with structural damage, OrBorJor President Anchalee Vanich-Thepabutr said, “All Phuket hotels have been affected because there are so few tourists now. The hotels have to take care of their staff, so the OrBorJor is granting this exemption to help them recover.”

She said, however, that hotels would be required to resume payment in October this year.

Collection of the tax has proven difficult in the past. In fiscal 2004, when some 47 million baht in revenue was collected, fewer than half of Phuket’s 218 hotels paid the tax.

Many hoteliers, including members of the powerful Thai Hotel Association, wanted more specific information about how the revenue would be spent before paying in.

K. Anchalee did not say if or when the OrBorJor would go ahead with its plan to use legal means to force payment of overdue taxes, as she threatened to do last September.

Hotel owners or managers failing to pay the tax – the only one of its kind in Thailand – are subject to fines of 5,000 baht or three months in prison, or both.

K. Anchalee added that the OrBorJor has set up an emergency fund of 48 million baht to help tsunami victims. It had also received some 900,000 baht in donations from OrBorJor in Kamphaeng Phet, Sakhon Nakhon, Buri Ram and Prachin Buri.

“Some of the fund and the donated money will go toward the cremation of tsunami victims at a cost of 3,000 baht each. The rest will go to help repair damaged homes, with payouts of 10,000 to 20,000 baht each, depending on the extent of the damage. We are also looking for ways to help local people to carry on with their occupations.”

“Fishermen who had boats lost or damaged will also receive assistance from this fund,” she said.

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