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Airbnb, an intermediary service for property owners seeking to lease their property for short-term lodging, has become one of the most popular services for travelers all over the world. Many new condominium owners now want to register their properties for short-term rentals-on a daily or a weekly basis, with the Airbnb service. However,the Hotel Act, B.E. 2547(2004) requires that a person wanting to rent his or her property on a short-term basis must obtain a license for operating a hotel business.
Moreover, a short-term rental operation is unregistered as a non-hotel accommodation under Section 1 of the Ministerial Regulation Determining the Criteria and Conditions of Hotel Operations B.E. 2551 (2008) (“Ministerial Regulation”). The registrars,in denying registration requests from condominium owners, argued that letting out condominium units for a short period tended to cause nuisance to other condominium residents. Nevertheless, the Ministerial Regulation does not stipulate a clear guideline for restricting the types of accommodation that may be unregistered as a non-hotel lodging business. Nowadays, only Homestay business is eligible for being registered as a non-hotel accommodation due to the government’s supportive policy which recognizes income-generating potentials of homestay businesses in rural areas.
The popularity of Airbnb services among tourists has generated abundant incomes from tourism in many parts of the world. Since the short-term rental of unregistered or unlicensed properties is still illegal in Thailand, the Thai government should find a legal solution in order to curb such wrongdoings. At the same time, the government should adopt a regulatory standard that reconciles the needs of the property owners, condominium residents as well as tourists who use Airbnb services in order to promote tourism and maximize tourism revenues for the country.
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