Yes, a foreigner can own the majority share in a company in the hospitality industry, such as a hotel, in Thailand. The specific ownership requirements and restrictions depend on the type of business structure chosen and the relevant regulations in Thailand.
Here are a few options for foreign ownership in the hospitality industry:
- Thai Limited Company: A foreigner can establish a Thai Limited Company where they can hold the majority of the shares. The foreign ownership percentage can vary depending on the business activities and the restrictions set by the Foreign Business Act (FBA). It’s important to consult legal professionals to ensure compliance with the FBA and other relevant regulations.
- Amity Treaty (for US Citizens): Under the Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations between the United States and Thailand, US citizens are granted certain privileges to engage in business activities in Thailand. This includes the ability to own a majority stake or 100% of the shares in a Thai company in certain sectors, including the hospitality industry. However, specific requirements and conditions must be met.
- Board of Investment (BOI) Promotion: The BOI provides incentives and privileges for investment in specific industries, including tourism and hospitality. Depending on the investment project and its promotion status, there may be relaxed restrictions on foreign ownership, allowing majority or full foreign ownership in certain cases.
- Leasehold Agreements: If full ownership is not permitted, leasing the land or property on which the hotel operates is another option. Long-term lease agreements can be structured for up to 30 years, with options for renewal. This allows the foreign investor to operate the hotel business while maintaining control over the property for an extended period.
It’s important to conduct thorough research and seek legal advice from professionals well-versed in Thai company laws, foreign investment regulations, and the specific requirements of the hospitality industry. They can guide you through the process and help ensure compliance with the relevant laws and regulations in Thailand.