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Guides cry foreigner foul

Tourists take photos as a tour guide explains wall carvings at Siem Reap’s Bayon Temple earlier this year.
Tourists take photos as a tour guide explains wall carvings at Siem Reap’s Bayon Temple earlier this year. Heng Chivoan

Guides cry foreigner foul

An increasing number of foreign tour guides travelling to Angkor Wat with groups from abroad are costing Cambodian guides jobs and violating the law, a group of Siem Reap-based guides complained to the Ministry of Tourism yesterday.

According to a 2009 sub-decree, all package tours arriving from other countries must hire Cambodian guides trained by the ministry.

Khiev Thy, president of Angkor Tour Guide Assn, which represents more than 1,000 guides, said a growing number of Russian, Chinese and Vietnamese guides ignored this decree.

“These guides . . . do not have licences. We are worried [they] do not clearly understand Cambodian history, and it affects Cambodian guides’ incomes heavily,” he said, adding that at least 100 guides have seen their livelihoods affected.

Groups spend an average of $30 to $50 per day when hiring local guides, Thy said.

Bun Then was among the guides concerned about his income. “If the ministry does not take action over this anarchy, Cambodian guides will lose their income and jobs,” he said.

Ngov Seng Kak, director of the Siem Reap tourism department, said the government was working on the issue.

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