The Ministry of Tourism has called on business owners and service providers not to increase prices during the upcoming Khmer New Year holiday to allow tourists to enjoy the traditional holiday after two years of postponements caused by the coronavirus epidemic. Covid-19 in Cambodia.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon signed Circular No. 003 on March 28, ordering the capital and provincial tourism departments to advise businesses not to raise prices for their services during the April 14-16 holiday. , after departments found that price gouging had been happening over the holiday season since Cambodia reopened to tourism, which it said had “severely affected” the sector.
“Generally, in terms of pricing, we always advise businesses to be clear on accommodation and catering prices. If there is a list of dishes in the restaurant, for example, the price of the food must be known to the customers…there must be an agreement between the customers and the business owners,” Khon said.
The circular states that tourism departments should promote the consistent and strict implementation of measures set by the government to prevent the spread of Covid-19, in particular the ‘three do’s and three don’t’ measures while that the Kingdom is adjusting to a “new normal”. while maintaining business stability and ensuring the safety of tourists.
The “Three Dos” – also called the “Three Protections” – are to wear a face mask, wash your hands frequently, and keep a safe distance from other people (usually defined as 1.5m). The “three things not to do” are to avoid confined and closed spaces, to stay away from crowded places and to refrain from touching others.
Khon called on tourism departments to cooperate with local authorities to ensure the safety of the site, especially in respecting health measures, tourism safety and minimum standard operating procedures (SOPs).
He said local tourism departments must strengthen enforcement of health protocols in tourist destinations, including determining and enforcing a site’s maximum capacity and practicing safe distancing. All staff must also be vaccinated.
Khon added that tourism departments should cooperate with traders and businesses to “enhance the quality of tourism, maintain a clean environment and appropriate prices for products and services.” In particular, he reiterated that the prices of food and other services in accommodations must be clearly indicated to inform customers in advance in order to avoid hidden charges.
In the event of discrepancies between the published and invoiced fees, the business owner will be subject to penalties in accordance with applicable laws.
The departments must set up working groups to bring the circular to the attention of private tourism-oriented companies and draw up daily reports of tourist statistics for each destination, which must be sent to the ministry.
However, Khon acknowledges that these price increases have not been seen in all tourist destinations, pointing to places in provinces such as Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk which have conversely lowered their prices in a bid to attract tourists. tourists to visit during Khmer New Year holidays.
Preah Sihanouk Provincial Department of Tourism Director Taing Sochet Kresna confirmed Khon’s observation that tourism businesses in his province have bucked the trend seen in the rest of Cambodia towards higher prices, as they have largely refused to raise fares.
He noted that this was different from the province’s tourism industry at its height “two or three years ago”, when prices were close to exorbitant and rooms were full due to a large influx of Chinese customers. .
Sochet Kresna added that price regulation and clarity practices should not only be practiced during the Khmer New Year, with the province aiming for “75% compliance” on these practices.
He added that while distributing the circular, tourism departments and other authorities also inspected tourism businesses at the local level to advise them on ways to improve the quality of services.
“We carried out inspections and distributed Circular No. 003 to businesses, and guided them before each festival regarding basic prices and communicated them to guests. If they don’t put a price [on goods and services] and customers complain, it will negatively affect businesses… so we have made them aware of these good practices,” he said.