The Ministry of Tourism has announced new safety guidelines and codes of conduct for tourism businesses to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and revive the sector.
The ministry will now require tourism businesses to be trained in Covid-19 response techniques.
The new guidelines also lay out additional conditions for all tourism businesses that plan on renewing their business licences. Failures to do so will result in an immediate suspension of their licence.
The ministry is also requiring all staff working in tourism businesses to be trained in the Tourism Capacity Building Programme in Response to Covid-19.
The training will be provided online and require advance registration. At the end of the training, a test will be given to evaluate the employees’ knowledge.
Minister Thong Khon said the training shall be held to coincide with the re-emergence of domestic and international travel and the gradual reopening of tourism businesses.
He said tourism services had closed primarily due to peoples’ fear of Covid-19.
The new rules and training programme are meant to extinguish these fears by ensuring tourism employees have the knowledge and capacity to prevent the spread of the virus.
Khon said last month, around 600,000 local and foreign tourists had travelled within the country.
He said some private companies had already implemented measures to prevent the spread of the virus in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, but others still had to conform to the new guidelines.
He said the new rules will be published within 20 days and businesses will have 20 days from the publication date to implement them before the ministry starts conducting reviews.
“If they still don’t implement [after being warned], we will suspend their licence for a while and let them adjust. After they have adjusted, we will give their licence back,” he said.
He said tourism businesses such as hotels, guesthouses, resorts and tourism transportation providers which implement the measures will receive a certificate to be displayed for visitors.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chay Sivlin welcomed the new measures. She expects them to instil confidence in tourists and promote tourism businesses as they try to recover from a pandemic-induced slump.
Suy Veth, the project director of tourism at Discova, a travel agency in Siem Reap province, said the tourism industry there had been seriously affected by Covid-19.
He said the focus on hygiene and other safety measures will prevent Covid-19 and other diseases.
Veth said if the Kingdom’s tourism businesses can effectively implement the guidelines, international tourists will realise that travelling to Cambodia poses a low risk of catching Covid-19.