Airbnb partnership with Thai Govt.

Airbnb partnership
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Airbnb has negotiated a ‘partnership’ with the Thai government.

The “Empowering Local Tourism Entrepreneurs’” partnership with Thailand’s Department of Local Administration (DOLA) appears to give the green light to hosts using the company’s website.

Research collated from Airbnb by research website highlighted that Airbnb hosts in Bangkok can obtain an average of THB 1,540 per night, with occupancy rates found to be 51 percent.

For Bangkok, the research website looked at 14.528 active rentals, and also revealed that 68 percent of what it defines as ‘professional hosts’ have multiple listings on the website.

A statement to launch the Airbnb partnership, which is not unlike deals that Airbnb has agreed with authorities around the world, said:

“Through the Airbnb partnership, the Ministry of Interior’s DOLA will work together to train local provincial officials on hospitality, hosting and compliance standards; and onboard existing homestays onto Airbnb’s global platform.”

The AIrbnb partnership will see training sessions including sharing information about Airbnb and how to use the platform to distribute tourism income to local communities across Thailand.

It is not clear whether the partnership will involve data sharing to enable the Royal Thai Government to collect taxes from Airbnb users.

Currently users should be paying tax at the assessed rate of 12.5 percent per year whether their property is rented or not.

Thai Immigration also needs to be notified within 24-hours of a foreign visitor staying at a property.

Mich Goh, Airbnb’s Head of Public Policy for Southeast Asia, said, “This is an exciting step forward for our community here in Thailand and a nod to the positive benefits that Airbnb is bringing to local tourism.”

What is also unclear with the announcement of this partnership is the compliance of Airbnb under Thailand’s current Hotel Act.

Current law states that accommodation owners with five or more rooms rented daily must be registered as hotels, and the property needs to comply with what are strict building regulations. (Please see the first comment below regarding the requirement to register as a hotel in Thailand).

As we reported earlier this year, two condo owners in Hua Hin were found guilty of a breach of the Hotel Act by renting their properties on short-term rents.

Since no public information has been made available as to the exact charges and scenario in Hua Hin, and legal precedent in Thailand does not exist, the fact that these two owners were found guilty cannot be used in a court in Thailand to prosecute others.

One of many questions that remain unanswered is what happens to owners who have four rental units for short-term lets on Airbnb?

They do not need to apply for a Hotel License, and this partnership with the Thai government would seem to acknowledge Airbnb is here and is not going anywhere.

Andrew Batt
The author of this article is Andrew Batt, the founder and editor of Andrew has been writing about property and real estate issues in Thailand and Southeast Asia for more than 10 years. He has worked for PropertyGuru Group, DDproperty, Dot Property Group, Hipflat and AsiaRents. He has also produced content for leading Thailand property developers and real estate agencies.


  1. I think desire many things when come here and Airbnb is solving. My family development is construction questions people stay for 1 day? Stay for 1 week? When property owner has I think is confusing abundant. Thanks you for add you expert lighting.

  2. As the owner of condos in Bangkok and someone who use to live in a condo in The City of Angles, I am still unsure of how buildings can enforce bans. I know our Juristic Board has been very adamant that short term letting is not allowed but I still see several units on Airbnb. One of the complaints my last tenants had was that too many short-term stayers were making it difficult to use the facilities.

    In my opinion, Airbnb must allow building management to have units in their buildings de-listed from the site. If not, we will continue to see problems with Airbnb in Bangkok and this story is not over.

  3. Thanks Sam, this was taken from the statement that was jointly issued by the Royal Thai Government, so we had (wrongly) assumed it was correct. We have added a note into the original story.

    Thanks again, for taking the time to get in touch.

  4. Please note*
    The 5 room exemption was changed with the August 2016 amendment to the Hotel Act. Virtually ALL rooms for short term rental now need to comply with the amendment.

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