The new public-private sector tourism body says price cuts could lure tourists back to Cambodia, but others warn the global downturn will keep numbers low
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 5 Dec 2008 03:00:51 -0800 (PST)
Cost cuts, better security to boost tourism: task force
Written by May Kunmakara
Friday, 05 December 2008
The new public-private sector tourism body says price cuts could lure
tourists back to Cambodia, but others warn the global downturn will
keep numbers low
DRASTIC price cuts and aggressive promotional campaigns may be in the
works to reinvigorate Cambodia's hard-hit tourism sector, officials
The president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, Ho Vandy,
told the Post a tourism task force, comprised of travel agents,
airline and hotel officials, tourism police and associated government
ministries, met Minister of Tourism Thong Khon on Thursday.
The task force urged price cuts and stricter security measures to
attract international visitors following instability in neighbouring
Thailand and terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
"If we can reduce the price of our tourism services, it will help
promote our country to travellers who are increasingly cutting their
spending," Ho Vandy said.
Tight security would also boost confidence among potential travellers,
"Terror attacks in other countries have provided an important lesson
for us to consider," he said.
Alternative transit routes
Cutting airfares and increasing air service routes from countries
other than Thailand were key points of discussion, Ho Vandy said.
"The political chaos in Thailand is not likely to end soon, so we need
to promote more direct flights from other hubs," he said.
He said lower airfares, airport taxes and admissions for Cambodia's
most popular attractions could encourage more direct flights that
Between 10 million and 12 million tourists visit Thailand every year,
with many of them including Cambodia on their itineraries, he said.
But Sokhara Ted Tann, deputy general manager of Korean Air, said the
situation in Thailand has begun to improve and questioned whether the
measure proposed by the task force would have any impact.
"The most significant issue is the world economic crisis," he said.
Meoung Son, an independent tourism analyst, also questioned whether
more direct flights were possible.
"The government should start by reconsidering its unfair and poorly
serviced airport tax. Moreover, admission fees and hotel rates are
already in line with those in neighbouring countries," he said.
"Hotels, restaurants and bars earn their profits principally during
only three months of every year. The airports get their profits every
Bun Ratha, president of Siem Reap International Airport, said he is in
favour of cutting the airport tax, but said it would require approval
from the government and the private company that operates it.
"I think the government has to discuss this with Cambodian Airport
Management Services, a French company that earns the airport tax."
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