Following a rise in the number of complaints from tourists that have been sold non-genuine souvenirs, the Ministry of Tourism said it will take matters into its own hands by shutting down businesses that deal in bootleg merchandise.
In a statement released yesterday, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said “strong legal action” will be taken against businesses selling counterfeit goods, a decision that aims to protect the reputation of the local tourism industry and keep visitors coming.
The statement comes amid a recent spate of cases in which Chinese tourists have reported having been sold expensive but inauthentic souvenirs in Siem Reap province, home of the Unesco-listed Angkor archeological park.
Mr Khon urged tourists as well as locals to report to relevant authorities any businesses that engage in this practice.
Tourism industry insiders contacted by Khmer Times said the sale of bogus souvenirs is a long established practice, and expressed their full support for the ministry’s decision to act against it.
Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said the practice can lead to a fall in the number of visitors to the country, as tourists are left disappointed with the quality of local goods.
“If they are sold fake merchandise they will report it in travel sites like TripAdvisor, which will lower our rating and affect people’s desire to visit the country.
“Or they may choose to stop buying souvenirs altogether, which would be bad for the local economy,” she said, adding that those selling counterfeit products are only thinking of making a quick buck, disregarding the long term consequences of their actions for their communities and the local economy.
“We have to stop the practice, and we have to intervene as soon as we receive a complaint,” Ms Sivlin said. “Authorities and traders have to conduct regular inspections to make sure fake souvenirs are not for sale.”