Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More tourists, less revenue

More tourists, less revenue

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Tourists take photos of the sunrise at Angkor Wat in Siem Reap province. Afp

More tourists, less revenue

The Ministry of Tourism released its annual report yesterday during its yearly meeting, showing growth continued for the sector in 2016, while launching a campaign to eliminate unlicensed tourist establishments that ministry officials claim slowed revenue collection last year.

International tourism arrivals increased by 5 percent to surpass the 5 million mark in 2016, according to the report. However, total tourism revenue was down from the $3.5 billion recorded in 2015, amounting to $3 billion, or 13 percent of GDP.

Tourism business registrations increased by 5 percent while revenue from tourism licences inched up just 1 percent, the report showed.

By the end of 2016, there were 647 hotels, 1,996 guesthouses, 1,844 restaurants, 588 tourist agencies and 5,088 guides registered in the Kingdom, according to the figures.

During the meeting, Thong Khon, minister of tourism, unveiled a new campaign to improve regulation of the industry, consisting of a seven-step plan that starts with enhancing the management of business licences and strengthening revenue collection.

Improving the quality of tourism services was the second step, followed by better management of industry standards in the tourism sector, particularly related to promoting the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) strategy, which involves promoting tourism for large organised groups.

Kim Sereiroath, director of the Ministry of Tourism’s industry department, said the ministry would cooperate with the private sector during the campaign to eliminate non-licensed businesses by 2018.

This will strengthen revenue from tourism licences and add to the efforts of the ministry’s “one service, one standard” target, he added.

“All the measures that are set out in the campaign are in response to weaknesses and challenges we have found in the industry,” he said.

“We hope to make progress on each of the steps and reach the targets of the campaign by 2020.”

The Ministry of Tourism is targeting 7 million international tourist arrivals by that time, he added.

Further steps listed in the campaign include issuing individual QR codes to tourist guides to better assess and guarantee the quality of their services, and improving the management of government funding for the industry, Sereiroath said.

Ang Kim Eang, general manager of Great Angkor Tours, said he welcomed the ministry’s efforts to eliminate unlicensed businesses as this would help maintain the quality of services in the tourism sector. He urged officials to also crack down on non-licensed online tourism agencies.

“This is what we have been waiting to hear from the Ministry of Tourism for a while,” he said.

“Unlicensed tourism businesses not only impact the legitimate companies but also affect the reputation of the entire sector while decreasing revenue from tax payments.”

MOST VIEWED

  • US imposes sanctions on Oknha Pheap and Kun Kim

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed strong dismay on Monday over the designation of Cambodian tycoon Oknha Try Pheap and General Kun Kim under the US’ Global Magnitsky Act. “It is very disturbing when the public figures of a country become the

  • Mother, daughter killed in hotel fire

    The bodies of a mother and daughter were found locked in an embrace after they were killed in a hotel fire in Phnom Penh at around 3:30am on Wednesday at the Phkar Chhouk Tep 2 Hotel and Restaurant in Phsar Doeum Kor commune, in the capital’

  • EBA withdrawal a destruction of EU achievements, PM says

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the EU’s possible suspension of its Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement amounted to a destruction of its achievements in the Kingdom and the demise of the opposition group. Hun Sen made the remarks while addressing more than 6,700 students during

  • US told to refrain from interfering in Sokha case

    Senior Cambodian officials said on Thursday that the US can monitor Kem Sokha’s trial as it wishes but would not be allowed to interfere in court procedures. The point was made in response to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s comments on Wednesday

  • Europe expected to consider EBA efforts, impact

    The government said it expects the European Commission to consider its efforts to comply with the “Everything But Arms” (EBA) regulations and the impact on one million workers should access to the agreement be suspended in February. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

  • Sri Lanka’s LOLC Holdings plans to sell Cambodian unit

    LOLC Holdings Plc, Sri Lanka’s second-largest publicly traded company by revenue, plans to sell its 70 per cent stake in Prasac Microfinance Institution Ltd, which also counts Hong Kong’s Bank of East Asia Ltd. as a shareholder, LOLC deputy chairman Ishara Nanayakkara said. Nanayakkara