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Tourism business licensing fees make 2023 comeback

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A tour guide leads a group of tourists to visit the National Museum in Phnom Penh in November. Heng Chivoan

Tourism business licensing fees make 2023 comeback

The finance and tourism ministries have announced the reinstatement of fees for the renewal of tourism licences – waived due to the Covid-19 pandemic – effective from January 1.

The reinstatement was announced on January 2 based on an inter-ministerial prakas on the implementation of the basic policy for tourism, which expired on December 31 last year.

However, industry experts have suggested that the government consider continuing deferring the charging of fees for another year to help businesses in the tourism sector.

Thuon Sinan, director of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia Chapter, said that while he did not object to the charging of fees for the renewal of tourism licences, the government should reconsider the current realities in Cambodia’s tourism sector.

While tourists were returning to Cambodia, this was only occurring on a small scale, and there remained doubts over the size of the rebound for the Kingdom’s tourism industry, he said, describing the sector as “a young child who can still only walk”.

“I think the number of two million tourists the government announced in 2022 is not yet viable. Returning to the numbers of tourists recorded before the pandemic is still far away.

“So the private sector needs the government to understand this and extend the waiving of licence fees for another year,” he said.

On February 9 last year, the tourism ministry issued an inter-ministerial prakas on the implementation of key policy measures for the tourism sector.

These also included the continued exemption from monthly taxes for hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and travel agencies with business activities in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kep, Kampot, Bavet and Poipet having registered with the General Department of Taxation for the first half of 2022.

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