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Preah Sihanouk boats may stop trips if they fail to pay fee

A tourist ferry leaves a pier in Sihanoukville earlier this year.
A tourist ferry leaves a pier in Sihanoukville earlier this year. Sahiba Chawdhary

Preah Sihanouk boats may stop trips if they fail to pay fee

Twelve of the 16 boat companies that transport tourists to islands off Preah Sihanouk province face the threat of having their licences revoked and being shuttered temporarily by authorities if they fail to pay a marine conservation fee by December 4, according a warning letter.

Phai Bunvannak, Preah Sihanouk provincial deputy governor, on Wednesday issued an announcement saying officials will take action against boat companies that haven’t paid the 8,000 riel (about $2) fee per tourist for the management and preservation of the beaches and islands in the province. The fee requirement was issued in July.

Bunvannak yesterday confirmed that if companies don’t pay up, authorities will “halt [their] activities . . . temporarily to wait for a legal solution”.

El Sovanda, president of On The Rock Tours Company, said she hadn’t paid, and hoped authorities would reconsider.

“We believe the increase in ticket price is not a problem for foreign tourists, but . . . it will cause our domestic tourists to lose the chance to travel and visit our islands because our people have low incomes.”

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