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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tourism turmoil continues

Tourism turmoil continues

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Ang Kim Eang yesterday released a statement denying all allegations of wrongdoing against him by some members of the association’s board who have called for his resignation.

Last Wednesday, 11 of CATA’s 15 board members signed and thumb-printed a petition requesting the removal of Ang Kim Eang for at least nine alleged wrongdoings, the Post previously reported.

Those charges included the improper use of association funds and disregard for regulations, as well as leading the association without transparency or structure, according to a copy of the petition obtained by the Post.

In yesterday’s statement, Ang Kim Eang pointed to CATA rules that require a vote of the association’s full body to remove a sitting president, emphasising that he would not resign from his position.

“Only a general assembly of the association, in complying with CATA’s article 18, is eligible to change the president and other directors,” he said.

CATA’s rules could not be disregarded by a few members “for the sake of cutting the head to fit the hat”, Ang Kim Eang said.

Elections were to have taken place in November, but disagreements among CATA members forced a delay. No date has yet been determined for the elections.

Ang Kim Eang suggested the group hire an independent auditor to review his actions as president.

Ho Vandy, who co-chairs the government’s public-private tourism working group, agreed that an independent auditor would be necessary to solve the dispute.

Ho Vandy, a five-term president of CATA, lost the position to Ang Kim Eang in a 2009 election.

One member of CATA’s board, Kong Sangvar, had called on the Ministry of Tourism to help settle the dispute.

However, Minister of Tourism Thong Kong said yesterday he refused to get involved.

“We will follow up. If they follow their internal regulations, then we will recognise them,” he said, adding that such disagreements were common within industry groups.

Thong Kong also noted that CATA’s problems would not weigh on the Kingdom’s tourism industry.

“It doesn’t affect the tourism sector, but it does affect the association’s management,” he said.

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