TOURISM sector businesses will be fined up to 300,000 riel ($75) if caught imposing “service charges” without first applying to the Ministry of Tourism, an announcement issued on Monday said.
The ministry’s director of the tourism, accommodation and food and beverage (F&B) management, Kim Serey Rath, who issued the warning, told The Post on Monday: “We will check on restaurants and those providing accommodations.
“And if anyone is found abusing the order, we will issue them with fines without exception.”
The purpose of controlling the number of establishments that can impose the charge, he said, is to strengthen service quality across the industry.
He said the ministry noted that some operators were including service charges without complying with the ministry’s procedures, adding that approved service charges should never be more than 10 percent.
In order to impose the service charge, a business must have a valid tourism licence and a “quality” certificate issued by the ministry, it said in its announcement.
All certified business operator must also put a notice of their service charge at the entrance to their establishment.
“We want to ensure a high quality of service for the public, and business owners must allow customers to comment on their services,” he said, referring to the ministry’s status as a channel for feedback within the sector.
According to the Tourism Ministry’s 2017 report, licences have been issued to 33,727 restaurants, 781 hotels and 2,255 guesthouses.
The Kingdom’s biggest tourist draw, the Angkor Archaeological Park, welcomed 858,580 visitors in the first quarter of this year, according to the report. It generated more than $39 million and represented a 12 percent increase over the same period last year.
Cambodian Tourism Federation President Sinan Thourn welcomed the move.
“It is a good move by the ministry. Business operators should not charge extra on the bill before their quality of service is properly certified,” Thourn said.