ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Many Phuket hotels haveno licences
Government figures show that Phuket has 702 hotels with 42,684 rooms _ but only 273 of these hotels are licensed.
Mr Niwit said the hotels operating without licences violated building control and environmental laws and did not pay taxes.
Hotels are required to conduct environmental impact assessments before they can receive a licence.
Operators who fail to apply for licences usually claim they cannot afford the cost of the assessments and taxes, the deputy governor said.
Mr Niwit said Phuket authorities had set up a working group to deal with the issue by trying to convince hoteliers to abide by the law.
Thai Hotels Association southern chapter president Suchart Hirunkanokkul said he had discussed the matter with local operators and many hoteliers said the costs of environmental impact assessments were too high for them to abide by the law.
Ong-art Chanacharnmongkol, the director of the Phuket Provincial Office of Natural Resources and Environment, said Phuket was declared an environment-protection zone and every hotel of at least 79 rooms or which has a space of more than 4,000 square metres had to undergo environmental impact assessment and needed an operating licence.
He said the hoteliers who did not comply with the law could report their problems to the working group.
Reasons cited by many of the hotel operators for not applying for licences include requirements for ventilation systems, waste water treatment facilities and parking lots.
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