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Ministry of Tourism waives licence renewal fees for next year

Thong Sotha​​   On June 11, 2020 - 2:28 pm​   In Travel & Tours  
Ministry of Tourism waives licence renewal fees for next year Ministry of Tourism waives licence renewal fees for next year

The Ministry of Tourism has announced all license renewal fees will be waived next year, to further assist the decimated sector.

However, fees for new business license applications will still apply and other fees such as penalties for invalidated business licenses will also remain.

The fee exemption will come into effect from Jan 1, 2021, until December 31, 2021, according to the ministry.

Top Sopheak, spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism told Khmer Times yesterday that the government is trying to help the private sector affected by the virus one step at a time.

“The government has provided all types of tax exemptions for tourism business and services which cover the country’s main tourism destinations,” he said. It must be noted that the tax exemption has only been applied for businesses in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville, Kep, Kampot, Bavet, and Poipet.

So far around 2,956 tourism-related businesses in Cambodia have already closed, leaving 45,405 people unemployed and resulting in a large loss of revenue generated from the sector, estimated at around $3 billion a year.

The government launched four measures last month, extending for another two months including tax exemptions from June to July for hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, and tour operators. These businesses are also not required to pay into the National Social Security Fund during the crisis.

That said, industry insiders say that the government’s tax exemption provides almost nothing for the sector because most are currently closed.

Thoun Sinan, president of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said that the tax exemption should be maintained after business resumes.

“I have questioned many times how we can impose taxes on an industry that is completely closed down. Tax payment should only be required for business activity,” he said.

Clais Chenda, president of the Cambodia Hotel Association (CHA), said that the government should offer tax exemption more broadly.

“The government currently only offers it to six cities and provinces while affected businesses in the rest of the country receive no help, even though they are required to still pay salary assistance for their unemployed staff,” she said.

Chenda insists more help from the government, with interest-free loans, or at least low-interest-rate loans without collateral, will be required for hotels to survive, while there should also be an electricity tariff cut for the industry during and after COVID-19.

In response, the ministry’s spokesman said the private sector also needs to understand the economic situation of the government during the pandemic. “The state is also losing revenue during this time and needs to help other sectors too, the state can only help as much as it can,” Sopheak said. Khmer Times