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Duelling boat tours reach deal

Duelling boat tours reach deal

PROVINCIAL officials in Siem Reap's Chong Kneas commune on Thursday struck an agreement with two Tonle Sap river tour companies that they hope will resolve a bitter rivalry that posed a threat to the commune's tourism sector.

The two companies, one operated by the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents (CATA) with offices in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, and the community-based Walk In boat tour company in Chong Kneas commune, have for the past two days clashed over access to tourists visiting Siem Reap, with Walk In claiming CATA held an unfair advantage.

Authorities, led by Siem Reap Deputy Governor Bunn Tharith, agreed with both companies on Thursday to a compromise for operators to conduct tours on a rotating daily schedule.

Heng Tim, a Walk In tour boat operator, praised the decision as a just compromise. "All of us agree that this is a fair resolution," he said.

But not everyone at Walk In was satisfied. Kim Sophany, tourism controller at the Sou Ching port in Chong Kneas, said the agreement was unfair.

"The Cambodian Association of Travel Agents has no business organising boat tours. They have become involved in order to protect the interests of rich and powerful people," he said.

Bunn Tharith said that, as far as he was concerned, the dispute was resolved.

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