Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities have ordered all tourist boat operators ferrying passengers to islands to add an additional $2 to each ticket for state coffers to help develop the coastlands and protect the environment.
The new tax on ferry boat tickets will be implemented Thursday, following a meeting on Monday between provincial governor Yon Min and 39 boat company owners.
The provincial authorities last year attempted to levy a $3 tax on each ticket, but the plan was met with strong objection from tour boat operators and was later dropped. This time around, both sides agreed to the $2 levy.
“The $2 charge per ticket for tourist boats will go to the state to maintain public order, good hygiene, environment, security, and safety for tourists who travel to islands,” Governor Min said on his Facebook page.
Taing Sochet Krisna, director of the Sihanoukville tourism department, said that a compromise was made with tourist boat operators to drop the tax to $2 because they feared customers would be outraged at a $3 levy.
“Last year, the province did not implement the $3 charge because of heavy objections, but now the price is set at $2 per ticket and all boat owners agreed to this price. They promised to cooperate to begin implementing it on August 10,” said Mr Sochet Krisna.