Thailand's Foreign Hotel Ownership Rules Changing in 2010
Next years AEC (Asean Economic Community) guidelines are set to increase foreign hotel ownership thresholds to 70% shareholding. With its wide ranging implications now only to the hotels/tourism but airlines, telecommunications and health care within the ASEAN membership countries.
Currently foreign investment in hotels is limited to BOI (Thailand's Board of Investment) approved projects with minimum threshold's of 100 rooms and extensive other guidelines. Minority shareholding is another option but the new rules will be attractive to overseas institutional investment firms as well as increasing the ability to leverage debt in other markets.
While there is increasing pressure on land owning investors using nominees in the country, the increased shareholding coupled with the ability to maintain a legal controlling interest in the hotel assets signals an important step in attracting outside investment in the sector.