PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – As part of a spreading reaction against trash-strewn streets, the Cambodia Hotel Association, an influential tourism industry group, is organizing its members to regularly clean up their immediate neighborhoods.
Luu Meng, president of the association, said hotel members in Sihanoukville agreed last weekend to organize clean up drives of their streets six times a year.
“In Sihanoukville, we already discussed with the board members, and the guys said they would organize this, with more people joining,” said Mr. Meng, a noted chef and a hotel investor.
“One hotel coordinates with other hotels to clean up together,” he said. “We want the hotels to be part of the leaders.”
Hotel managers in Phnom Penh said they have lost potential conventions because of the capital’s dirty streets.
Business visitors from Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok, say Phnom Penh’s laissez faire attitude toward litter reminds them of their own cities 40 years ago. And warm nostalgia is not the emotion they feel when they see uncollected trash.
Mr. Meng said his association is forming a clean-up task force with Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment and officials in the Phnom Penh government. The association’s membership includes about 100 of the most important hotels in Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh.
Increasingly, he said, hotel members, are not waiting for government action.
“Yes, you can talk about government this and government that, but us, what we do, what we educate our own employees, is important,” Mr. Meng said in an interview at his Almond Hotel.
“But the hotel association encourages its members to group together and do it,” he added.
He said hotels are increasingly adopting the model of a group of hotels in Sihanoukville. There, hotel managers lead teams of employees to clean up streets in front of hotels six times a year.
“We want the hotels to be the leaders of the clean up campaign,” said Mr. Meng, who will open two new boutique hotels inPhnom Penh in the second half of this year.