Tour Agencies Urge Boat Security Regulations

Tourism industry officials on Wednesday said regulations must be made to assure boat safety after a boat traveling to Siem Reap was highjacked by gunmen.

“It was not a serious problem because everybody got back without any injury,” said Sotho Kulikar, sales executive of Hanu­man Tourism, “but the government should consider creating strict regulations on insurance of boat operations and [conduct a] security check on passengers.”

She said only one of five boat operators on the route is insured and none check passengers for wea­pons.

As security has improved in recent years, more tourists travel up and down on the river between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. According to the Tourism Ministry, up to 60 people per day travel the route because it’s inexpensive and offers pleasant views.

Tourism Ministry Secretary of State Thong Khon expressed shock over Wednesday’s incident and agreed security needs to be beefed up. “We regret what happened and apologize to all the tourists,” Thong Khon said. “This is the first incident—a new experience for us. We are going to make new regulations to improve security and safety on boat trips.”

Meng Pholla, director of PI Travel, said the incident will make it more difficult to promote tourism in Cambodia.

“This is a lesson not only for boat operators but also concerned agencies.”




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