Tourism Group Calls for a More Hospitable Cambodia

A private group of Cambodian tourism professionals has ap­pealed to the government to make Cambodia a more hospit­able place for tourists and asks that Cambodians respect the name and likeness of Cambodia’s greatest king.

Moeung Sonn, chief of the Na­tion­al Association of Tourism En­ter­prise, is requesting that the Min­istry of Tourism place a curfew on the use of loudspeakers at weddings and funerals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap

“At every pagoda and wedding house they put up a big speaker, usually near a guest house or ho­tel,” said Moeung Sonn, head of the private organization of 40 travel professionals in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh. He said the loudspeakers sometimes play music as late as 2 am. “I have com­plained to the governors and ministries to make regulations,” he said.

Minister of Tourism Veng Ser­ey­vuth said that he has received the complaint and is looking into the matter. “If it is a countrywide time limit for weddings and funerals, then the Ministry of the In­ter­ior is involved as well, not just tour­ism,” he said. But if the noise is disturbing hotel guests, he said, such a restriction would be a good idea.

Phnom Penh Governor Chea Sophara said that although there is no existing regulation, he will “take into consideration this ex­cellent idea.”

Moeung Sonn has also re­quested that the Ministry of Cul­ture do more to respect the likeness of King Jayavarman VII. The king, who reigned from 1181 to 1219, is credited as Cambodia’s greatest monarch and built more temples and monuments than any other.

The complaint issued by Moeung Sonn states that many carvings and images of the king do not look authentic, and that his image has been used disrespectfully in advertising and in private gardens. The likeness “should never be used for commercial use,” he said.

Prince Sisowath Panara Siri­vuth, secretary of state for the Min­istry of Culture, says he agrees with all of Moeung Sann’s points except for removing the like­ness of Jayvarman VII from private and public gardens. “I don’t mind putting the [likeness] in gardens because it is a good thing that can remind young Cambodians of this hero from the past,” he said.


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