An inter-ministerial meeting on Monday addressed issues surrounding tourist boats, highlighting problems such as owners failing to pay taxes, failing to carry correct documents and overloading their vessels.
The meeting, chaired by the Ministry of Tourism and presided over by the ministry’s secretary of state Chea Bora, called on the government to establish an inter-ministerial committee to address tax and other issues.
The meeting highlighted challenges in the sector, including tourist boats doing business without paying tax or carrying the proper documents, as well as tourist boats operating without technical check books issued by the Ministry of Public Works and Transport or its provincial departments.
Further discussions included incompliance with the waterway traffic law, overloading, as well as operating without a licence. Most of the tourist boats are in Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province.
The meeting was attended by the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the General Department of Taxation, the General Commissariat of National Police, the General Department of Customs and Excise and relevant departments and entities.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, there are currently 124 tourist boats operating in Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province, of which 16 operate without a licence and 35 operate with temporary licenses. None pay tax.
“This time there will be a restriction on these businesses. [They] have to pay tax on their vehicles. In the past we were often lenient but they still refuse to comply with the law,” said Bora.
He said tourist boat operators that want to set up new businesses or expand existing businesses must pay their tax and have the right documents from customs and tax institutions.
They must have a vehicle technical inspection letter from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport, or the Ministry of Tourism will not issue them a tourist business licence, he said.