A tourism business is an entity providing services directly to tourists, like organizing or operating tours, sightseeing and guide services, not including the leasing of vehicles, transportation of passengers, facilitating hotel bookings and reservations, or arranging field trips.
In Thailand, tourism is one of the most restricted activities and any company providing tourism services must obtain prior starting operations a Tourism (TAT) License from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Applications must be submitted to the branch which has jurisdiction over the area where the company is located.
A foreigner that wants to get involved in the tourist related business must operate through a Thai limited company which would require that not less than 51% of the company shares to be owned by Thai natural persons and not less than half of the directors to be Thai citizens.
The Thai managing director must be at least 20 years old, residing in Thailand, not being bankrupt or incapacitated, should never have been imprisoned, unless for a negligent or minor offence. Only a Thai director can bind the company for matters concerning tourism business.
The tourism company’s office must be separated from other offices and must display a signboard with the full company name and TAT license number at the entrance. Virtual or serviced offices cannot be used as a place to operate a tourism business. A letter of consent from the landlord confirming the use of the address for this purpose is required.
The company must not have had a Tourism License suspended or revoked in the last 3 years.
The Tourist Business and Guide Registration Office regulations require a tourism business to hold a Tourist & Guide insurance based on the number of clients.
Once the license application has been approved, the applicant must pay in cash, bank security letter and government or state enterprise bond an official fees and security deposit, as following:
• 200,000 Baht in case of outbound tourism
• 100,000 Baht in case of inbound tourism
• 50,000 Baht for domestic tourism activities
• 10,000 Baht if the tourism activities will only be organized in a specific area
The Tourism License is valid for 2 years and must be renewed within 120 days prior to its expiry date. If the company is dissolved, the License must be handed over to TAT within the last 30 days of its validity.