The Ministry of Tourism will extend the licence fee exemption for all tourism-related business to next year due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The exemption of payment for all kinds of tourism licence fees will be implemented for the period from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021,” Tourism Minister Thong Khon said in a statement on Tuesday.
Tour companies and other businesses are feeling the effects of the pandemic caused by the reduction in tourists. Because of COVID-19, flight restrictions and quarantine measures have been imposed, leading to a drop in the number of people flying in to the Kingdom.
Top Sopheak, Tourism Ministry spokesman, said the pandemic is a global crisis and all countries have been affected.
“Because of COVID-19, the tourism situation for next year is still uncertain. This is why the Ministry of Tourism is waiving licence renewal fees for 2021,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, 2,838 tourism-related businesses in the Kingdom have reduced or temporarily closed their operations this year, leading to 50,996 job losses in the sector.
Ho Vandy of World Express Tours & Travel said his company has been impacted since March. The company was unable to generate revenue and had to temporarily lay off some staff.
“We need all the support we can get from the public sector,” he said. “Since this year, the government has been supporting workers in the sector who have been laid off and waived payments for tourism licences and taxes.”
Hang Sambo, general manager of VR Tour & Travel, said that his company has also been seriously affected by the pandemic. He said they are trying to stay afloat by offering domestic tourism packages and services such as visa arrangements for foreigners, car rentals and selling tickets for boat rides.
“We are also doing online advertising and promotions for domestic tourists,” Sambo said, adding that he hopes the government and the Ministry of Health will have a COVID-19 vaccine for the people as soon as possible.
Chhay Sivlin, President of Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), said that the recent community outbreak is a very bad news for the Kingdom’s flagging tourism sector because fewer people will now travel out of fear for their health.
“I would like to request those involved in the “November 28 community incident” to report to the Ministry of Health and go into quarantine for 14 days,” she said. “That way the virus spread will be contained and it will be good for the country’s tourism.”