Private Tour Guides Upset Over National Museum Ban

The National Museum has announced that private tour guides will be banned from showing visitors around its galleries, a decision that has stirred up an angry response from tour companies.

Beginning on October 1, visitors to the museum will have to leave their personal guides outside.

A private tour guide, left, leads a couple out of the National Museum in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
A private tour guide, left, leads a couple out of the National Museum in Phnom Penh on Tuesday. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

They will be given the option of either paying for headphones for a guided audio tour or for the services of one of the museum’s guides, according to a statement issued earlier this month.

The Association of Phnom Penh Tourist Guides, in a statement released on Monday, said the new policy was akin to “coercing tourists” as visitors should be able to decide who will guide them.

“It diminishes the value of licensed tour guides who have been trained by the Ministry of Tourism,” said Heng Hak, head of the association.

Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts spokesman Thai Noraksathya dismissed the concerns and said foreigners would have no issue with hiring a different guide at the museum as long as they knew of the policy before arriving.

soumy@cambodiadaily.com

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