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

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro