Tourism sector asks to extend tax breaks until the end of this year

Tourism players have asked the Treasury Department to extend the tax break currently enjoyed by the industry from June 30 to December 31, citing business instability.

Cambodia Hotel Association President Dean Someearit said his organization initiated the proposal, which was presented at the Government and Private Sector Forum on June 11.

“The ministry understands our problems and is still waiting for a solution from [finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth]Somethearith said, adding that he discussed the proposal with Luu Meng, co-chair of the Government-Private Sector Working Group on Tourism, and Thalias Hospitality Group CEO Arnaud Dark.

Although the number of foreign visitors to Cambodia has increased since the beginning of the year compared to the same period in 2021, this figure is only a tenth of the pre-Covid-19 level, which spells disaster for the hotel industry, with some establishments reporting as little as 20 percent, he said. occupancy.

Thurn Sinan, chairman of IMCT Co Ltd and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATACC) Cambodia, told The Post that while the economy has recovered from the worst days of Covid, stability is slipping away from the tourism sector, as are major destinations like Phnom Penh. and Siem Reap are receiving an influx of foreign travelers.

He stressed that the end of the tax break at the end of this month would hit private businesses related to tourism severely.

Sinan is proposing to the government to extend the tax break until the end of 2022 or mid-2023, citing the tourism sector’s significant contribution to the gross domestic product (GDT) and arguing that businesses will be sustainable by the end of the new period.

He said the possible extension would be in line with other government initiatives to protect the tourism industry, highlighting a co-financing scheme for low-interest loans managed by Cambodia’s state-owned Bank for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME Bank).

Chhai Sivlin, president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agencies, said the December 31 extension would be a lifeline for hotels, guest houses, restaurants and travel agencies, and that most tourism businesses in the capital and provinces of Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk were trying to reopen. but that income is still insufficient to cover past expenses and losses.

“Let the Ministry of Economy [and Finance] as well as the Royal Government consider [extending] these tax breaks for our tourism sector by the end of 2022 so that all businesses can put in the effort, recover and open their doors to show tourists that Cambodia has indeed returned safely to its former hectic,” Sivlin said.

Although tax incentives are not within the purview of the Tourism Ministry, a spokesman for Top Sofeak said his ministry renewed all tourism licenses free of charge this year to mitigate the industry’s economic hardship to some extent.

On June 13, Finance Ministry spokesman Meas Seoksensan told The Post that the government…

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