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Travel agencies warned against assigning star ratings to hotels

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The Ministry of Tourism has warned some of the world’s online travel agencies who have Cambodia’s hotels rated on their websites without the ministry’s recognition. POST PIX

Travel agencies warned against assigning star ratings to hotels

The Ministry of Tourism has warned international online travel agencies against rating Cambodian hotels prior to the former’s evaluation.

In a statement issued last week, the ministry noted that some hotels have been rated by the online travel agencies – including TripAdvisor, Agoda, Booking.com and Expedia – without the hotels having been evaluated by the ministry itself.

Ministry spokesman Top Sopheak said hotel ratings must be made by the Ministry of Tourism’s expert committees at both the national and sub-national levels.

“Hotel operators setting their own ratings contrary to the [ministry’s principles] will be fined and may have their licences revoked,” said Sopheak.

He said following the statement, violators could face fines of between one and five million riel ($250 and $1,250).

Consumer confidence

Despite the recent surge of new hotels, Sopheak said the number of applications to the ministry for evaluation remains low.

“Setting the number of stars will help boost consumer confidence. Each hotel must comply with the standards approved by the ministry,” he said.

Cambodia Hotel Association president Luu Meng said the announcement is very important for consumer confidence.

He said some hotel owners are unaware of their hotel ratings on the websites and that online travel agencies rated hotels themselves to attract customer bookings via their websites.

“For those hotels not complying with the announcement, the authorities should stop providing them with licences and shut them down,” he said.

A Ministry of Tourism report obtained by The Post on Sunday showed that as of the end of May, Cambodia had a total of 152 hotels accounting for 17,450 rooms. Of those, 36 are five-star hotels, 41 are four-star and 32 are three-star.

Four-star and five-star hotels are mostly located in Siem Reap province and Phnom Penh.

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