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Illegal Phuket hotels get Jan 31 deadline

PHUKET: It is checkout time for the 1,366 hotels in Thailand's Phuket province that operate without hotel licences, as authorities announced a Jan 31 deadline for these establishments.

Only 424 hotels on the resort island have licences, Thai newspaper The Nation reported yesterday.

Phuket Governor Chokchai Dejamornthan told the Bangkok Post in a report yesterday that the operators "still have time to notify us that their hotels are illegally operated and show their intention that they are ready to go legal within January next year, otherwise we will shut down and prosecute them".

More than half of the illegally operated hotels are in Kathu district's Patong area, said the Bangkok Post.

NO TAX

"Illegal hotels pay no tax. They have no security systems and no insurance is provided for guests.

"Many of them have insufficient parking spaces and use public areas for their guests' parking, which causes trouble to neighbours," he said.

Illegal hotels are a long-running problem in Thailand. In October this year, the Thai Hotels Association urged the government to keep up its crackdown on illegal operators.

Governor Dejamornthan also has plans to develop the popular tourist destination's infrastructure, with plans for a taxi-boat service, tighter security, cleaner water and energy sources, as well as flood-prevention measures.

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