Legal services for Thailand’s hotel and hospitality sector

PUGNATORIUS Ltd. is the Bangkok-based specialist provider of transactional legal and tax advice on foreign investments in Thailand’s manufacturing and service industries as well as property acquisitions and developments. Thailand’s hotel markets offer interesting investment opportunities for foreign hotel companies as well as high net worth individuals. For some years, the law firm advises on various aspects of Thailand’s hospitality industry. It has particular industry know-how on the acquisition of hotel businesses and the structuring of hotel ventures through hotel management agreements and similar arrangements. The law firm advises on tax-efficient cross-border structures and on the utilization of external financing for the Thai business.

Thailand’s hotel industry (hotels, resorts, and guesthouses) is directly connected to the tourism sector. Hotels and restaurants combined accounted for roughly 6 % of Thailand’s GDP. Thailand is a top tourist destination partly because of the world-class tourism attractions spread throughout the country. Its capital Bangkok is a major tourist attraction, consistently winning tourism awards. There are popular beach destinations in the south and east, and in the north, a range of eco-tourism travel options. In addition, the country benefits from competitively-priced accommodation and low cost of living which, when compared to other countries, is considered good value for money.

Seven professional services in Thailand’s hospitality industries from Bangkok

#1. Hotel business acquisition:  PUGNATORIUS Ltd. offers comprehensive legal and tax support on how to acquire an existing hotel (brownfield) by a transfer of shares or business assets. The law firm advises on the acquisition structure and its consequences from a legal aspect, tax planning opportunities and Thailand’s regulatory framework for foreign investments. The law firm provides comprehensive hotel due diligence examinations regarding the hotel company, the hotel business, and hotel property. It offers proofed solutions to maintain existing licenses and an on-going BOI investment promotion. The law firm drafts and negotiates hotel transfer contracts and structures and monitors the whole closing process. The services are supplemented by transaction support services to identify possible targets and to manage the transfer of assets, IP rights and human resources. 

#2. Hotel business development: PUGNATORIUS Ltd. advises how to set-up a new (greenfield) hotel business from scratch, including the investment in property, staff, and licenses. It advises on restrictions for foreign investors in Thailand and industry-standard or advanced solutions.  This includes the design, preparation, and set-up of secured corporate structures, the acquisition of required licenses and the reliable support in the application for a BOI investment promotion on hotel businesses.

#3. Hotel business licensing: PUGNATORIUS Ltd. advises on the hotel license requirements and supports in the preparation and application for a hotel business license. The Bangkok based law firm has a vast experience with hotel licensing – and other licenses supporting the hospitality business – all over Thailand, especially in Samui, Phuket, Pattaya, and Bangkok. This includes EIA environmental impact assessments and the connections between hotel act and building regulations.  The law firm possesses a broad scope of experiences, know-how, and proven work products to streamline the application process, to avoid time-wasters and to minimize the overall costs to get the hospitality business licensed as a hotel.

#4. BOI:  PUGNATORIUS Ltd. advises on the requirements to obtain investment promotion by Thailand’s Board of Investment for new hotel ventures but also for existing hospitality businesses under new management. It has specific expertise on how existing hotels can successfully apply for BOI promotion, especially in a hotel acquisition scenario. 

#5. Condotel development: The combination of condominium development and hotel business is a new product in Thailand’s property markets. The law firm advises how to use an existing or planned condominium development as a hotel business.

#6. Structuring of hotel management agreements: Legal structuring of hotel management agreements, villa development structures, and similar arrangements. International and domestic tax planning of hotel businesses. 

#7. Legal opinions on hotel and hospitality topics

Free industry updates and professional considerations on hotel businesses and other segments of Thailand’s hospitality sector are available at pugnatorius.com/hospitality. These posts can provide only a low-resolution snapshot and are neither deemed to be legal advice nor do they result in an attorney-client relationship. The remarks are highly simplified and should not be taken as guidance for a particular case, which is typically unrecognized intense and complex. Each case is different. Telephone inquiries and ad-hoc email requests on Thailand’s legal and regulatory framework without details and documentation are not accepted by the law firm. Individual support and professional advice are available under a paid consultancy agreement only.