Tourism Venues to Be Vetted and Ranked by Government

The Ministry of Tourism has unveiled a new system to rank the quality of service at restaurants, adult entertainment establishments such as bars and clubs, and event venues such as conference halls, guiding tourists through their stay in Cambodia.

Clubs, karaoke parlors and beer gardens will be packaged into one category, receiving up to three “orchids” on a ministry-assigned certificate. Restaurants will be eligible for up to five stars, while events venues will receive a certificate of recognition, according to a statement from the ministry released on Thursday.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon answers questions during a meeting at the National Assembly in November 2014. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)
Tourism Minister Thong Khon answers questions during a meeting at the National Assembly in November 2014. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)

“We created the ranking standards to improve quality as well as to strengthen human resources and skills,” Tourism Minister Thong Khon said on Sunday.

The goal, he said, was to create a “One Service, One Standard” framework to ensure certain standards across the industry.

“The department will go evaluate those places—for example, which have better toilets, restaurant service, et cetera—so they can receive the scores,” he said, adding that provincial tourism officials would conduct the assessments.

Venues that do not meet basic criteria would not receive the nod of approval from the government, negatively affecting their business, he added, referring further questions to Kim Sereyroth, director of the tourism industry department, who could not be reached.

A central part of the government’s economic plan, tourism accounted for 13.5 percent of the country’s gross domestic product last year, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.

However, the quality of services is still lacking. Cambodia was ranked 105 out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s “Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2015,” due largely to poor hygiene and tourism infrastructure.

Once the new rankings are enforced, they will benefit the entirety of Cambodia by encouraging more tourists to visit, said Ho Vandy, chairman of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agencies.

“This will generate more income and everyone can gain from that,” he said. “If your business has quality, it will have a long life.”

(Additional reporting by Janelle Retka)

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