How to Set Up a Hotel Business in Singapore

Published on October 13th, 2015 by in Blog

With a thriving tourism sector and as one of the top convention cities in the world, Singapore is a smart place to open a hotel. Whether they’re traveling for business or pleasure, tourists need accommodation. It’s no surprise, then, that the hotel and restaurants sector is expected to see an 8% growth in the coming years.

This guide will provide you with information on how to set up a hotel in Singapore. Please note that the information provided is purely for general guidance and should not replace professional advice.

What You Will Need

To open a hotel, you will need two things: a Hotel-Keeper’s License and a Certificate of Registration. The Hotel-Keeper’s License is required for the management of the hotel, while the Certificate of Registration is required to use the building as a hotel.

Both the Certificate of Registration and Hotel-Keeper’s License can be obtained from the Hotel Licensing Board.

Whether you plan on opening a luxury hotel, hostel or even a guest house, you will need to obtain these two important documents.

Obtaining a Certificate of Registration and a Hotel-Keeper’s License

In order to obtain a Certificate of Registration and Hotel-Keeper’s License, there are several requirements that you will need to meet. Listed below are the steps you will to take to obtain both of these documents:

Incorporate Your Business

The first and most important step is to incorporate your business. You must register the hotel as a Singapore company, limited liability partnership or a business with the Singapore Companies Registrar.

Premises Approval

Before applying for a license, you must obtain written approval to use the premises for hotel operations. Approval must be sought form the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore.

Appoint a Hotel-Keeper

A General Manager or a CEO (Chief Executive Officer) must be appointed as the Hotel-Keeper and will be responsible for managing the hotel’s administrative duties.

Advertise Your Application

Within 14 days of submitting your Certificate of Registration application, you must advertise the application in both the Lianhe Zaobao and The Straits Times. The application must be advertised in a prescribed format.

National Environment Agency Approval

In addition to the steps listed above, you must obtain either a Compliance Certificate or a Clearance Certificate from the National Environment Agency’s Planning and Development Department.

Obtain Approval from the Fire Safety Department

Additionally, you must obtain a Fire Safety Certificate or a Temporary Fire Permit from the Fire Safety Bureau of Singapore.

Obtain Approval from the Building Construction Authority

A Certificate of Statutory Completion or a Temporary Occupation Permit will be required from the Building Construction Authority of Singapore.

Application Requirements and Procedures

To apply for your Certificate or Registration and Hotel-Keeper’s License, you will need to submit the appropriate form to the Hotel Licensing Board along with:

  • The appointed Hotel-Keeper’s resume
  • The written approval grant from the Urban Redevelopment Authority
  • A copy of the advertisement placed in Lianhe Zaobao and The Straits Times
  • A cover letter than details the estimated date of opening
  • Copies of all the required approvals, certificates and permits

Applications typically take three weeks to process, provided there are no objections raised within 14 days of the advertisement date.

Once the license is granted, it will remain valid until December of that year. The license must be renewed on an annual basis.

A fee of S$100 is required upon receiving the license. Annual registration fees can range anywhere between S$200 and S$400, depending on the number of rooms in the hotel.

Additional Licenses that May Be Required

In addition to the Certificate of Registration and Hotel-Keeper’s License, you may also be required to obtain other licenses. These include:

A Non-Residential TV License

If you plan on placing televisions in the hotel rooms or lounge areas, a Non-Residential TV License will be required.

In order to obtain this license, your company must be incorporated. A license application must be submitted to the Media Development Authority of Singapore, and you will be required to pay a license fee of S$100 per television. If more than 90% of the rooms in your hotel have televisions, the annual license fee is reduced to just S$82.50 per television.

Applications typically take five days to process, and licenses will remain valid for one year.

Public Establishment License

If your hotel will also include a bar, café, lounge, pub, restaurant or snack bar, a Public Establishment License will be required.

Approval must be sought from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and you may be required to obtain a Fire Safety Certificate.

To obtain this license, you will need to submit the appropriate application form and pay the annual license fee of S$260 to S$1,200.

Public Entertainment License

If you plan on hosting shows, such as game, karaoke, dance, fashion, acrobatic or music, you must obtain a Public Entertainment License.

Much like the Public Establishment License, you will be required to obtain approval from the Urban Redevelopment Authority and obtain a Fire Safety Certificate.

If granted, certain stipulations may be imposed by the Licensing Officer for events, like beauty pageants and fashion shows.

Applications are typically processed within one week.

Other Licenses

Depending on your hotel’s offerings, you may be required to also obtain other licenses, such as:

  • Massage Establishment: Required if you will offer massage or spa services. Granted by the Singapore Police Force. Certain licensing conditions and rules must be followed. Annual license fee is S$525.
  • Swimming Pool: Required if a swimming pool will be operated on the premises. Granted by the Environmental Health Department of the National Environment Agency. Several requirements must be met to obtain this license, and the annual fee for license renewal is S$360.
  • Tobacco Retail: Required if you plan on selling tobacco products on the hotel premises. Granted by the Health Sciences Authority. Applications take four weeks to process, on average. License fee is S$360, and it must be renewed annually.

There are many steps to setting up a hotel in Singapore, but the reward is well worth the effort. With a thriving tourism industry, Singapore is the ideal place to realize your dream of running a hotel.

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