Owners forced to close Chiang Mai guesthouses following licensing crackdown

“Hundreds” of guest houses in downtown Chiang Mai are reported to have closed down after a recent crackdown on accommodation licensing.

The guest houses – often small establishments sometimes on top of an existing business, were targeted by Tourism Police last month following a visit from Tourist police deputy commissioner Surachet Hakpal, better known by his nickname “Big Joke.”

MGR Online reports that a group of people has petitioned the Chiang Mai Governor for assistance, saying that the closure of the guesthouses is not only hurting themselves but the local economy as many attracted foreign tourists.

In at least some cases, guesthouse owners have obtained to obtain licenses but have been denied due to their inability to comply with building safety requirements under the 2004 Hotel Act.