Toursim Ministry asks Caminco to set up at borders to handle all insurance for vehicles crossing into Cambodia once stricter driving regulations come into effect
The Tourism Ministry has asked the partly privatised insurance company Caminco to set up facilities to sell motor-vehicle insurance to all vehicles entering Cambodia by road at international crossings, it said.
"I recently put this idea to the state-private insurer Caminco, but we have no result as of yet," said Minister of Tourism Thong Khon on Wednesday.
The minister said the Kingdom's neighbours already cooperate in providing insurance to vehicles entering their territory, and it was time for Cambodia to do the same: Laos and Thailand sell vehicle insurance at their border posts valid for one day, three days or a week, as does Vietnam.
"When our vehicles enter their countries, they sell insurance to us - so why don't we sell insurance to them when they enter Cambodia?" He asked. "I want this implemented soon because the global economic crisis means we have to attract more tourists from neighbouring countries to compensate for the loss of tourists from rich countries."
Making travel simpler for tourists from neighbouring countries would help, he said, adding that there are currently four border crossings on Cambodia's border with Vietnam through which vehicles can pass. The countries have an agreement allowing a daily limit of 150 vehicles.
Ho Vandy, a board member of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said vehicles were not officially allowed to cross Cambodia's border from Thailand or Laos, but said border guards regularly allowed them through.
Duong Vibol, managing director of Caminco, confirmed the tourism ministry had asked his company to establish offices at all international border checkpoints. He said Caminco, whose key income is derived from vehicle insurance, was considering the plan. He said building the infrastructure at each crossing would require an undetermined investment.
Duong Vibol said the Finance Ministry would pass a law this year requiring all vehicles entering Cambodia to have insurance.
"Cambodia currently has no regulation requiring foreign vehicles that enter the country through international checkpoints to buy insurance," he said. "On the other hand some of the more distant checkpoints have neither water nor electricity, and they see hardly any cross-border vehicle traffic, so it might not be cost-effective for us to establish offices in those places."
Duong Vibol said the implementation date was not set since much work remained, including negotiations to establish partnerships with insurers in neighbouring countries. He said the reason Caminco - and not private insurers - had been invited was because the government retained a one-quarter stake in the firm.
The government sold 75 percent of Caminco last year in an unannounced privatisation deal.