Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt to have free visa rethink soon



Govt to have free visa rethink soon

Govt to have free visa rethink soon

T HE on-off saga of free visas for visitors to Cambodia took a new twist when it was revealed that the government is reconsidering the idea and may introduce a "free visa" policy in the next few weeks.

The government announced that it would waive fees on two-week visas from the start of March.

But angry tourists arriving then still found themselves forced to pay $20 for one-month visas.

Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth said on March 18 that the delay was only a temporary hiccup, blaming it on the late arrival of computer equipment to process tourist arrivals.

All would be ironed out within six week, said Veng. But six months later tourists are still be charged $20 under the old system.

The latest situation, said Tourism Under Secretary of State Sok Chenda, is that the cabinet will consider the matter again prior to the opening of the newly-refurbished arrivals hall at Pochentong Airport, Phnom Penh, when the computer equipment will finally be up and running.

The loss of revenue to the Ministry of Finance had to weighed against possible gains made by free visas attracting more tourists, said Chenda.

Cash-strapped Cambodia is currently attracting around 15,000 arrivals per month, amounting to $300,000.

He refused to be drawn about the government's earlier announcement that free visas would definitely be brought in.

Chenda added: "Free visas have two meanings - that they are free of charge or easy to get.

"One of the most frequent questions by tourists is how can they get a visa?

"Some people are a little bit scared that when they arrive they won't be able to get one. We want them to know that everything is easy." Cambodia issues visas at Pochentong partly because it does not have diplomatic missions in many countries

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • PM asks India for vaccine help

    Prime Minister Hun Sen is seeking assistance from India for the provision of Covid-19 vaccines as the country has produced its own vaccine which is scheduled to be rolled out to more than 300 million Indians this year. The request was made during his meeting with

  • Cambodia, India agree to start direct flights, tourism exchanges

    Cambodia and India have agreed to start direct flight connections and promote closer tourism exchanges and cooperation in all areas after the Covid-19 saga comes to a close. The agreement was reached during a meeting between Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon and newly-minted Indian

  • Plastic-to-rice initiative transforms waste into bricks

    Volunteers in Kampong Khlaing commune of Siem Reap province’s Sotr Nikum district have been collecting plastic waste to use as a raw material for the production of bricks and clemence tiles. The volunteers are hoping that, in addition to helping clean up the environment,