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Bribery a challenge for Cambodia's tourism sector

Bribery a challenge for Cambodia's tourism sector

130115 08
An official stamps passports at the Bavet crossing on the Cambodia-Vietnam border. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

The tourism sector has complained about the attempted extortion and bribery by officials at the international border checkpoints that still upset tourists coming into Cambodia.

The issue was raised yesterday during a meeting of the Interministerial Committee for Facilitating the Travel and Transport of Tourists and Travelers.

Sinan Thourn, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association and the owner of a tour agency, said he faced many challenges when accompanying guests across the main checkpoints to Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

He said a taxation official in Koh Kong had delayed the approval of a document for hours by going for a walk, and officials would demand more money to approve documents.

“When [the taxation officials] were not happy, they would find obstacles to not validate those documents,” Thourn said.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said tourists faced difficulties at the borders, particularly during holidays and the high season.

According to Tourism Minister Thong Khon, the tourism sector raised those complaints as taxation officials did not attend the meeting.

But he claimed many steps had been implemented to stop irregular activities that inhibited tourists’ travels.

Sok Phal, deputy National Police chief and deputy of the Interministerial Committee for Facilitating the Travel and Transport of Tourists and Travelers, said the Tourism Ministry should promote a hotline number for the National Police to intervene in conflicting cases.

“But I believe we cannot eliminate all problems. Top officials would not do this, nor ever welcome such acts, but some individuals might take advantage,” Thong Khon said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at [email protected]
 

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