"I have offered them a schedule whereby tour associations work in shifts - one per day - to avoid problems and improve their image among foreign tourists," Tourism Minister Thong Khon said in hope to end aggressive tactics by private tour operators at the Poipet border checkpoint
- From: Chim <ChimS1@xxxxxxx>
- Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2008 02:03:10 -0800 (PST)
Crackdown on Poipet touts
Written by May Kunmakara
Friday, 26 December 2008
Tourism Ministry issues new guidelines for tour operators
CAMBODIA'S Tourism Ministry this week reached an agreement it hopes
will end aggressive tactics by private tour operators at the Poipet
border checkpoint that have tarnished the Kingdom's image and led to
complaints by tourists.
Problems first arose in late November after political unrest in
Bangkok led to the closure of Thailand's two principal airports,
increasing the number of tourists passing through the Poipet
checkpoint by more than 11 percent, said Chhung Lim, director of the
Tourism Bureau in Banteay Meanchey.
The increase in border traffic led to rival tour operators fighting
for business, which escalated earlier this month with tourists being
shouted at, having their luggage snatched from them and being forced
into vehicles by five competing tour companies, border officials told
local media at the time.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said the new agreement would require
private tour companies to operate on a fixed schedule that would
eliminate unruly competition for clients and provide transparent fares
and fixed visa prices in US dollars.
"I have offered them a schedule whereby tour associations work in
shifts - one per day - to avoid problems and improve their image among
foreign tourists," he said.
Prum Chandy, deputy chief of the Poipet Tourist Police, said he has
seen tourist security and services increase dramatically in his three
years of service, and complaints from tourists overall have decreased
nearly 95 percent.
The frequency of the once daily complaints of pickpockets, visa and
money changing scams, as well as hassles from transport companies,
have dropped to an average of less than one per month, he claimed.
But Prum Chandy said the increase of tourists in late November posed a
threat to safety and order at the crossing, so his department has
been working with immigration police to get rid of pickpockets and the
forceful tactics of private tourism companies.
"We completely cracked down 100 percent," he said. "This doesn't
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