The Thai Ministry of the Interior is set to eliminate illegal hotels as it has finished a draft code amending the 2008 hotel law.

The code will be reviewed by the National Legislative Assembly within 2-3 months before being sent to the Cabinet for further consideration, said President of the Thai Hotel Association Surapong Techaluhwijit.

The code will take effect if it received the Cabinet approval in July or August this year, he said, adding that the new regulation will force illegal hotel operators to register their business with the authorities.

Currently, there are 80,000 accommodation rooms with appropriate licenses, accounting for just 20 percent of the total number of 360,000 hotel rooms in the Kingdom.

The new code will seek to imprison violators for up to a year and fine them up to 20,­000 THB. An additional daily fine of 10,000 THB will be accrued by operators who persist in running an illegal hotel.

The move is likely to bump up room prices in hotels by the end of this year or early next year, as a large number of illegal operators will enter the legitimate market when the new code becomes effective.-VNA/NNT