Government officials meet with Patong small hotels asking for aid

PHOTO: Small hotels in Patong met with government officials asking for aid. (via PR Phuket)

Many small hotels were crushed by the Covid-19 pandemic, even as things reopened they were forbidden to legally operate. Eighty small hotels in Patong met with the President of the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission to discuss how they had lost their businesses and buildings due to poorly handled Covid regulations.

The president, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, was joined by the Chairperson of the OPDC subcommittee that oversees the development and promotion of quality tourism in Patong as they met with disgruntled hotel operators. Many of the hotels in Patong were not permitted to reopen, even during the sandbox where bigger hotels and chains were allowed to welcome customers, as a result, many hotels were foreclosed on after going into debt and being unable to pay.

The group represented some 200-plus hotels and they walked the OPDC around Patong to see some of the hotels lost to foreclosure, where properties were seized, things inside auctioned off, and businesses decimated. They called on the government to take immediate action.

They described the laws regulating hotel reopening as problematic and asked for a waiver to allow small hotels to reopen in Patong, something they have been rallying for since at least one year when the Phuket Sandbox launched. Last August, boutique hotels delivered a formal request to assist small hotels to upgrade to the standards required under the Hotels Act to meet Covid requirements like SHA+.

Building requirements in the Hotels Act prevented many previously operating businesses to fail to qualify to operate legally as a hotel and were forced to close. Without being able to accept tourists, they quickly fell into debt and foreclosure. They can’t even sell their properties because any purchaser would still have to pay off the debt incurred during Covid before being able to legally open.

The president of the OPSC said the government acknowledged the situation and had been contacted by many small hotel operators telling him the same thing. He vowed to act on the matter quickly, saying they were processing dozens of similar submissions.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

Phuket News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.