Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Zero-dollar’ tours under fire

‘Zero-dollar’ tours under fire

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Angkor Archaeological Park received 1.24 million foreign visitors in the first half of this year, down more than eight per cent compared to the same period last year, as ticket sales declined nine per cent to about $55 million, according to a Xinhua News Agency report. Heng Chivoan

‘Zero-dollar’ tours under fire

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon has blamed “zero-dollar” tour operators for the decrease in foreign tourists to Angkor Archaeological Park in the first half of this year and has called for action against them.

Angkor Archaeological Park received 1.24 million foreign visitors in the first half of this year, down more than eight per cent compared to the same period last year, as ticket sales declined nine per cent to about $55 million, a Xinhua News Agency report said.

During the closing ceremony of last week’s Siem Reap Tourism Master Plan Workshop, Khon said “zero-dollar” tour operators are “destroyers of tourist destinations in Siem Reap province”.

“Why were tourists in Siem Reap province down these six months? There are many factors, but one factor that we found is because of the zero cost tours."

“Zero-dollar tour operators . . . give tours without taking a profit, but they bring guests to places charging exorbitant prices on souvenirs, food and accommodations and then take commissions,” said Khon.

South Korean tourists, who used to be on top of the list of the Kingdom’s tourist arrivals, have turned to Vietnam, as it has launched new tourism policies attractive to foreign visitors, according to Khon.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Hor Vandy said the “zero-dollar” tours have upset foreigners.

He said that due to the sale of such low-cost packages, operators force visitors to buy low-quality goods at high prices and then guide them to places such as expensive shops and casinos.

“The consequence is that after the tourists return to their countries, they will say bad things about Cambodia – that it does business by selling fake products at high prices,” he said.

Pacific Asia Travel Association president Thourn Sinan said “zero-dollar” tour operators have been working in Cambodia for more than 10 years but were not entirely to blame for the drop in the number of tourists.

“I think that the zero-dollar tours really have a negative impact on the tourism sector, but is not the entire reason for the decrease in tourists to Siem Reap province,” said Sinan.

He said the Kingdom must diversify its tourism destinations to achieve the goal of receiving seven million foreign tourists this year.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma