Government officials conduct a crackdown on illegal foreign-nominated businesses and bogus travel agents across Pattaya, resulting in the revocation of tour operator licenses and summoning of directors for further investigation.

PATTAYA. Thailand – Government agencies launched a unified effort on April 26, to address concerns within the tourism industry to tackle the widespread issue of businesses in Pattaya employing Thai nationals as nominees, commonly referred to as “nominee shareholders.” This practice allows foreign investors to circumvent restrictions on foreign ownership in various sectors, including tourism.

Led by the Department of Tourism, collaborating with the Department of Business Development, the Department of Special Investigation, the Tourist Police Division, and the Immigration Police Office, ten locations across Pattaya were targeted for inspection, to crack down on such practices and ensure compliance with regulations.

Authorities discovered rampant abuse of nominee shareholder arrangements within the tourism sector. Many businesses utilized Thai nationals as intermediaries to obtain licenses and establish companies. However, subsequent investigations revealed that foreigners held majority shares, exceeding the legal limit for Thai ownership capped at 51%.

Additionally, irregularities were found in several registered tour companies, including discrepancies between licensed premises and actual operations. Some companies were also found to be engaging in activities beyond the scope of their permits.

As a result of these findings, three tour operator licenses were revoked, and the directors of these companies were summoned for further investigation. In one particularly severe case, authorities uncovered a business that had ceased operations entirely, underscoring the gravity of the violations.

This crackdown on businesses utilizing Thai nominees emphasizes the government’s commitment to transparency and regulatory compliance within the tourism industry. Authorities have pledged to maintain vigilant monitoring and enforcement of regulations to uphold the sector’s integrity.

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Author: Pattaya Mail