Bar and restaurant owners have formed an association to offer advice on dealing
with unofficial fees, set minimum standards for the industry and provide
customer service training.
The Restaurant and Bar Operators Association
of Cambodia (ROAC) held its inaugural meeting in Phnom Penh on February 11 and
was endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism.
Branches were also formed in
Siem Reap on February 14 and in Sihanoukville.
ROAC will be the
industry's central representative body to government and will help new
businesses negotiate the myriad of licenses and fees.
experience you have of Cambodia then usually the less you pay," said David
Channell, the owner of Goo Chi who was elected president of ROAC.
of the essential things we have to do is get from the Ministry of Tourism a list
of all the requirements to run a restaurant or bar and then the appropriate
charges for those requirements," Channell said.
Unofficial fees for
business licenses means that the $5 actually charged by the ministry can blow
out to around $150, he said.
With tourist numbers topping one million in
2004, those in the industry want to boost standards of training and service to
enhance the experience for travelers.
"We have a 2000-year-old culture
in Cambodia; people want to see that and experience that, but at the same time
once they start coming in numbers they will expect standards," Channell said.
The Minister of Tourism Lay Prohas said it was important that the
industry have an association to assist in the quality of service to the
"We need this; it is a wonderful thing," Prohas told the
While foreign restaurant and bar owners have expressed enthusiasm
for the new association, Channell admits the key to its success will be getting
Cambodian businesses to see the value of joining ROAC.