The Battambang provincial Department of Tourism has initiated a policy requiring tuk-tuk drivers who transport tourists to obtain business permits and wear a standard uniform, in order to enhance and ensure the safety of customers. 

Provincial tourism department director Ouch Uphinisara remarked on March 12 that there had been instances where drivers involved in accidents lacked clear identification. 

He referenced Article 61 of the road traffic law, which mandates that all business operations must possess valid licences.

He explained that, in consideration of the residents’ livelihoods, the department had previously been more lenient with tourist drivers.

However, he emphasised the critical importance of transport services, especially due to the high number of travellers in the province who rely on these services to visit various resorts.

Uphinisara stated that recognising the importance of these issues, the department, along with the provincial administration, is now preparing drivers to obtain permits and wear uniforms approved by the department.

“The drivers are required to apply for permits and uniforms at the provincial tourism department from [now] until early April 2024.

“If tuk-tuk drivers lack [either of these], we will not allow them to conduct tourist transport business. They may face legal fines, as ensuring tourist safety is our main principle,” he said.

Uphinisara added that these measures not only encourage travellers to utilise the services but also provide a direct line of contact to authorities in case of issues.

“Ensuring the safety of visitors and facilitating their travel is a fundamental duty of the tourism department. In the future, we aim to encourage collaboration within the sector, as disjointed efforts can negatively impact the industry,” he asserted.

Mam Rithy, president of the Cambodian Tourism and Service Workers Federation (CTSWF), praised the new arrangements, noting that they make transport services appear more orderly and ensure drivers are easily identifiable, which particularly enhances security.

“In my view, these measures are beneficial for public order. However, I’ve noted that they generally involve financial costs for the drivers. Therefore, we should look into alternative solutions that don’t negatively impact their livelihoods,” he added.