Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tourism operators welcome legislation on travel industry

Tourism operators welcome legislation on travel industry

Tourism operators welcome legislation on travel industry

Licensed tourism agencies say the new law – 10 years in the making – will help prevent illegal operations and support a level economic playing field

TOURISM service providers have welcomed the new Tourism Law, which came into effect last week. The law aims to develop the sector - one of the Kingdom's economic pillars - in a sustainable way that contributes to poverty reduction and preservation of national culture.

An Kim Eang, the president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents (CATA), said the law would benefit service providers.

"I welcome this new law on behalf of the whole private sector, because it will generate competition, and service prices will not be set excessively high or freely," he said.

An Kim Eang added that the new law would help protect providers from violations by government officials, who he said previously accused some operators of illegal activities.

Lao Heng, general manager of VLK Royal Tourism based in Phnom Penh, echoed An Kim Eang's view, saying that the new law prevented businesses from operating without a licence.

Without this law I am certain investors would not remain here.

"Before this law we encountered a number of difficulties ... our company is large, and operates legally," he said. "We have to pay our taxes, and that means we make a profit of just US$2 to $3 per ticket. But smaller companies were able to sell at a lower price because they don't pay taxes."

Ministry of Tourism Undersecretary of State So Mara said the entire process had taken 10 years involving in-depth discussions with the private sector.

"Both the private and the public sectors must fall under the umbrella of this law - and I believe it will ensure effective management, quality and sustainability in the tourism sector," So Mara said. "Without this law I am certain investors would not remain here."

So Mara said the ministry is in the process of informing tourism providers about the provisions of the new law. Operators in Phnom Penh were informed last week, and the ministry's information effort is to roll out to other operators nationwide next.

One of the provisions of the new law is covered by Article 50, which requires all tourists to respect the country's traditions and customs. Another - Article 70 - bars minors from going to adults-only entertainment areas, and businesses that flout this could be fined up to 10 million riels ($2,500).

Under Article 65, owners or managers of unlicensed businesses are liable to a fine of up to 20 million riels ($5,000).

But not everyone is convinced the law will apply equally to all. Bun Hay, who owns the Angkor Mondial Restaurant in Siem Reap, questioned whether powerful businesspeople who manage to evade other laws would feel obliged to obey this one.

MOST VIEWED

  • US to ramp up sanctions after ‘flawed’ national polls

    At a press conference on Wednesday, the US State Department announced that it would expand visa sanctions on the Cambodian officials and individuals it deems responsible for “undermining democracy” in Cambodia. At the briefing, spokesperson Heather Nauert reiterated that the department regarded the July 29 elections

  • PM's Bodyguard commander hits back at US

    The commander of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s Bodyguard Unit (BGU) Hing Bun Heang on Sunday dismissed a short video clip that went viral on social media in which he says he is preparing for a war with the United States over its aggressiveness towards

  • Final poll results confirm first single-party Assembly

    IN an unprecedented situation in Cambodian politics, the official results of the July 29 national elections have declared that the Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) will take all 125 seats in the National Assembly on the back of it receiving 76 per cent of the votes. The National

  • Chinese influence to sweep Kingdom?

    Growing Cambodia-China ties have seen the latter’s influence sweep across the Kingdom through increased investments and tourism. The Asian giant has become the leading source of foreign funds in Cambodia, fuelling the construction sector with huge casino and hotel projects. Much of the growth