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Author Topic: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure  (Read 2712 times)

Rex (Admin)

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Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« on: May 30, 2018, 12:35:21 PM »
Wed 30 May 2018, 12:31 pm

"Guesthouses," usually small family-run hotels have been a cottage industry in Thailand for decades serving budget travelers and lending charm and character to tourist areas. Many travelers prefer the small-scale intimacy, charm and personal service to the more sterile and cold-blooded commercial hotels. To each their own, of course. However, this industry, the livelihoods of generations of guesthouse owners and operators are at risk as the gov moves to make it difficult or impossible for such places to continue to operate in Thailand. Not only does this effect the guesthouse operators but also budget travelers who will have fewer options and my be entirely priced-out of visiting Thailand.  Of course, in our opinion, it would be better for the big hotel operators/owners (many of whom are members of the government) to work hard to provide better service and lower prices rather than colluding to squash an entire industry comprised mostly of innocents with little or no defense against the gov and big business. While undoubtedly there are many levels to this story, I rarely ask my facebook friends to share posts, but I make an exception this time. If you love these little guesthouse facilities or are just opposed to abuse of power from gov and big business PLEASE SHARE this with friends and colleagues. Thanks!  -Rex[/size

THE NATION- Facing a crackdown on unregistered accommodations, the operators of 200 small hotels and guesthouses in Chiang Maiís Muang district on Friday jointly hired a team of experienced lawyers to petition the court to legalise their businesses, as well as asking for help from related agencies . . .  Read more => http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/breakingnews/30346274



stevve

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2018, 12:39:49 PM »
one reason is that they do not comply with the law and inform the police when they have a non Thai guest

Rex (Admin)

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2018, 03:25:02 PM »
Another reason is that many of the big hotel owners are MPs and would prefer to use their influence to squash competition rather than provide better service at lower rates..  I don't know where your information comes from about guesthouse owners not being in compliance with reporting. However, if that is true, there is a remedy for that; fine those who are not in compliance.  Even though it is a pain in the ass too be sure, they could easily do it if it meant  being able to continue to operate. How can ghe gov and Chamber of Commerce hope to save face if they behave like thugs?

fceligoj

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2018, 03:56:41 PM »

Two things:


We've stayed in those 'guesthouses' or as most people call them 'resorts'.  I agree with STEVVE about the non reporting, but that is not the only issue.  When we would go to one of them, if we paid cash, not only did they not want to see my passport to make a copy so they could report my stay, but also they did NOT charge VAT.  If you used a credit card, you had to provide them with your passport and the price now not only included VAT but also the 3% charge for using the credit card.


Secondly, I doubt if a majority of the bungalows were built to spec on all the various safety requirements necessary to make them safe for occupancy.  We have a friend who owns a 'resort' on the Rt 230 Bypass about 2 Km south of the Udorn exit going to the West.  If you want a room for a night or two, pay cash of 600 baht/day, no questions asked.


Just check what was happening in Phu Tub Berk Mountain where the 'resort' owners built the stays illegally and not to any safety requirements.  Whenever we went, we would usually stayed in a camp site in a tent or in a government available bungalow, nt one of those 'illegal' bungalows.


If the owners would have built them to spec under a government approved license and ran them as an approved temporary stay,  they would be in business throughout this time of ouster.  But like most Thais, they do not want to abide by the existing laws, just like the way Thais drive flaunting the traffic laws.


Sorry, Rex!


Rex (Admin)

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2018, 08:57:50 AM »
Frank, the "resorts" you are referring to and the "guesthouses" I am referring to are not the same thing. Resorts are guesthouses, technically, I guess.  However, what I am talking about are the hundreds (or thousands) of little hotels all around the streets of Bangers, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and the other tourist towns. They range from backpacker-slimy to fairly upmarket, and from, I guess,  a little "shady" legally to boy scout honest. That is not to say that all of the resorts you describe are not in compliance with building codes or reporting or taxes. Lots of these guesthouse, maybe most, are on Agoda and similar. That is also not to say that the bigger operators are by definition a bunch of angelic boy scouts either!

But that is not what the story is about.  If the gov discovers an operator not in compliance with whatever, then the operator--following some sort of due process--should be fined and given fair warning and the opportunity to come into compliance or have his license revoked depending on the severity of the offense.

Guesthouse operators are not provided incentives to come into compliance. The system is rigged in such a way as they can never comply 100% with all of the Byzantine licensing requirements imposed by various agencies, and so remain perpetually at risk of being extorted in one way or the other for not have all the required documentation or having one with some error on it.

The guesthouse owners and their attorneys are simply asking for the opportunity to become regularized so they can go back to operating peacefully and properly in compliance with regulations.

However, there is much bigger stuff going on here on two levels.  The first is that upscale tourist operators simply do not  care for competition and have the gov on their side and welcome the dismantling of a decades old cottage industry industry and tradition. This dovetails with the recent Airbnd ban targeting the same impulse for ordinary people to make a living or a few extra dollars without indenturing themselves to some corporate master.

The other level, different-but-overlapping is the current nanny state government's "march to the sea" to remake the culture of Thailand according to a morally pristine image that they prefer, one safe for busloads of Chinese tourists who come, stay in crappy, sterile hotels, eat Chinese food, spend a few dollars and then go home in ten days.

Isn't that special!

russell17au

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2018, 10:43:12 AM »
Whether they are a "resort" or a "guesthouse" they must be licensed by law and they must meet certain safety standards and I know of many that are not licensed and they do not meet the safety standards that are required to obtain a license. Why should I as an owner of a licensed "guesthouse" have to allow my next door neighbour to run a "guesthouse" which is unlicensed and he has not spent the money to ensure that his "guesthouse" meets all the safety requirements as required by law so that he can charge a much lower tariff than I do because he has not paid out the same costs that I have for me to operate legally. That is unfair competition in any country.

fceligoj

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2018, 02:38:26 PM »

Rex, I am happy that you brought up Airbnb.  Not only is Thailand going after these operators, but I just read where one European country is totally fed up with these type of rentals and are going through the proper channels (new laws and regulations about residential neighborhoods being turned into commercial neighborhoods.)  What is happening in many neighborhoods where there are Airbnb rentals, neighbors are fed up with people renting and then becoming a huge nuisance in the neighborhood, whether destruction of property, illegal parking, excessive noise, etc.  Airbnb does not investigate the renters who use their service vice they worry about only home owners who do the renting not caring about the 'destruction' of the residential neighborhood.


I DO NOT want my neighbor or other close neighbors applying for these temporary and short term rentals using services like Airbnb!  Why should there be any differences in the resort areas or Bangkok vs Khon Kaen and its suburbs or the National Parks and other Thailand attractions?

screamer

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2018, 04:36:59 PM »
I use Airbnb and get better accommodation, better prices and better looked after than any hotel I've been in.

Rex (Admin)

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2018, 04:57:35 PM »
The Airbandb is a zoning issue plain and simple. Why not let the local jurisdictions, "villages," and neighborhoods  decide rather than the gov over-reacting, over-reaching and making an entire industry illegal? There is such a thing, after all, as private property and the right to do with it as one pleases within rational, obvious limits.

Rex (Admin)

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2018, 05:09:50 PM »
Whether they are a "resort" or a "guesthouse" they must be licensed by law and they must meet certain safety standards and I know of many that are not licensed and they do not meet the safety standards that are required to obtain a license. Why should I as an owner of a licensed "guesthouse" have to allow my next door neighbour to run a "guesthouse" which is unlicensed and he has not spent the money to ensure that his "guesthouse" meets all the safety requirements as required by law so that he can charge a much lower tariff than I do because he has not paid out the same costs that I have for me to operate legally. That is unfair competition in any country.


Russell, I am not well-researched about this, but it is my understanding that the issue is not about licensed vs. non-licensed operators.  As it has been explained to me, small operators simply cannot get licensed--none of them--and the requirements are the same as they are for bigger hotels, but are not applicable and not doable for small operators. And even those who make a good faith effort, as I explained, are always short one document or another so are always at the mercy of the whims of the cops.


Also, as I said and as I say, if an operator is "shady" and in non-compliance in some way, deal with him as an individual.  Don't ban an entire cottage industry and ruin the livelihoods of thousands of mom & pop businesses, not to mention the subset of hundreds  or thousands of restaurants, tour operators, travel agents, convenience stores, taxi drivers and many more who have a symbiotic relationship with the guesthouses.

screamer

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2018, 06:20:21 PM »

Exactly Rex.
Make Airbnb open and legal so that guests can go to the police about bad places and weed them out.


If I had to stay in Bangkok (or anywhere) at hotel prices I wouldn't stay for nearly as long so the city would lose all my extra spending money.

Rex (Admin)

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2018, 08:11:02 PM »
I have been speaking with the lovely woman who owns Britannia Guest House, Chiang Mai where I am staying this week. A group of owners has formed a loosely affiliated association and their attorney met with some sort of gov officials or cops or something.  They made it clear that it was not a protest, but rather a request for dialog.  All they were asking is for the cops to put a moratorium on the mass crackdown, closures and arrests and allow them to continue has they have been for years until some less draconian (my word) solution might be arrived at.  I am returning home tomorrow, but I hope Aow will send me updates.

russell17au

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2018, 10:13:43 PM »
Rex, you have been staying at the Britannia Guest House, Chiang Mai. Let me ask you what safety equipement do they have if a fire broke out? How quickly would the building become an inferno?This I do know about, I was involved with the NSW Bushfire Brigades in Australia plus look at the recent highrise building fires in England where the wrong material was used to build the places.If the places cannot meet the safety standards then they should not be allowed to operate.

Rex (Admin)

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2018, 10:32:18 PM »
I have no way of answering your question.  However, my off-hand guess is that the guesthouse would become an inferno about as quickly as any of the hundreds of other buildings in the surrounding areas. Personally, I would not want to be in any store or restaurant of mini-mall if a fire broke out.

russell17au

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Re: Guesthouses threatened by gov closure
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2018, 06:57:09 AM »
This is the biggest problem with this type of accommodation, they do not want to spend the money on the safety equipement that is required in all short term accommodation. Things like fire extinguishers, emergency lighting and smoke alarms which is required in all short term accommodation. This is not only here in Thailand but in many other countries in the world.