Guiding tours in Bangkok
These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.
Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.
Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*
When am I likely to be considered to be operating a tourism business in Thailand?
You will be considered to be conducting a tourism business under the Tourism Act if you are operating a business relevant to taking tourists to travel for sightseeing or for other purposes by providing one or more services or facilitation of accommodation, food, tour guide or any other services as may be prescribed in the ministerial regulation. There is no specific ministerial regulation issued at this time, but you should check with the Department of Tourism for any updates. Tourists can include both foreign nationals as well as local citizens who are travelling from one place to another for recreation, learning, entertainment or other purposes.
Here are some examples of when you may be considered to be operating a tourism business:
- I take guests on a walking tour to point out some key national attractions and points of interest in Bangkok.
- I take guests on a guided foraging hike through a national park.
Here are some examples of when you are unlikely to be considered to be operating a tourism business:
- I hold a yoga class for guests in my home or private studio.
- I conduct a cooking class on Thai cuisine for guests in my home or in a licensed restaurant.
We encourage you to check with the Department of Tourism on whether you will be considered to be running a tourism business in providing your experience.
I am operating a tourism business in Thailand – do I require a licence?
Yes, you will need a licence in order to operate a tourism business – either as an individual or as a company. More information can be found on the Department of Tourism website.
An individual tourism business licence may be obtained from the Department of Tourism. This can only be applied for by a Thai national who is at least 20 years of age. More information on the application process, fees and required documents is available here.
You may also apply for a tourism business licence under a company. In this case, your company must be established under Thai law (e.g. a private limited company) where not less than 51% of the capital of the company is held by Thai individuals and more than half of the directors of the company are Thai nationals. More information on the application process, fees and required documents is available here.
For both individual and corporate tourism business licences, you will need to pay a licence fee of THB 2,000 and an additional fee of THB 1,000 every 2 years to maintain the tourism business licence. Do note that the operation of a tourism business without a licence is subject to up to 2 years’ imprisonment and/or a fine of up to THB 500,000.
Do I need a licence to offer a guided tour of public areas?
A tour guide licence will be required where a person offers a guided tour of public areas as part of their normal business. You will be considered a “tour guide” if you are “a person providing service, as a normal business, in taking tourists to places and providing services in relation to suggestion and knowledge to the tourists”.
Here is an example of when you may be considered to be acting as a tour guide:
- I bring a guest around Bangkok to visit key national attractions and points of interest, such as museums, galleries and temples, while providing historical and other commentary about the places along the way.
Here are some examples of when you are unlikely to be considered to be acting as a tour guide:
- I conduct a yoga class in my home or private studio for guests.
- I love music and football so, from time to time, I take guests to listen to local music in a public park or to the stadium to watch a game.
We encourage you to check with the Department of Tourism on whether your experience will require a tour guide licence.
Only Thai nationals who are at least 18 years of age are eligible to become a tour guide. You will also need to obtain a certificate of completion of a tour guide course before applying for the tour guide licence. More information on the application process, fees and required documents can be found here. Note that penalty of up to 1 year imprisonment and/or up to THB100,000 may be imposed if an individual is found to be conducting a tour guide service without a licence.
Please note that if you are a tour guide, you can only provide a guided tour if you are registered as a tourism business or are otherwise employed by a tourism business. Please also refer to the question above.
Is there anything else I should consider when giving tours?
You are encouraged to also read our other information pages (for instance, on business licensing and if your activity involves transport, on experiences that include transportation) to see which other licences or regulations may be applicable to your experience.
If you’re in any doubt, it is best to get in touch with your accountant or legal advisor to find out whether you’re operating as a tourism business or tour guide.
*Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).