Travel around the world continues to be affected by the novel coronavirus, especially in the Greater Mekong Subregion where most of the countries are relying on the tourism industry.
The Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office would like to take this opportunity to gather the government’s policies in which to provide aid and assistance to businesses in the respective countries.
We are continually updating the policy taken by the different government to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 as well as to support the recovery process for the tourism sector.
Please see specific information about government policies to provide aid and assistance to businesses in the respective countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion as related to COVID-19 crisis below: Cambodia. PR China, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam.
To learn about travel restrictions due to the current pandemic in the respective countries, please click HERE.
GMS COUNTRY UPDATES
On December 6, 2021:
The government has decided to extend tax exemptions to sectors ravaged by the Covid-19 outbreak, to allow businesses breathing space for recovery and boost economic growth amid a lingering uncertainty over the convergence of crises brought on by the pandemic. Read more
On July 21, 2021:
Employees in the garment and tourism industries whose employment contracts have been suspended can expect cash subsidies.
The amount workers will receive depends on the number of days of suspension. Those suspended from seven to 10 days will receive 60,750 Riel (US$19.9), from 11 to 20 days 121,500 Riel (US$39.8), and from 21 to one month 162,000 Riel (U$53.1). Read more
On June 30, 2021:
The government has issued its ninth round of economic relief measures for the private sector, amid mounting socio-economic pressure triggered by an alarming upsurge in Covid-19 cases.
The support measures centre on the severely-hit textiles, garments, footwear, travel goods and tourism sectors, aiming to keep businesses afloat in the third quarter of this year as the pandemic drags on, according to a government statement on June 30.
The government in July-September will continue to provide $40 per month to workers in these sectors as part of its cash handout programme amid the pandemic.
Factory owners must add $30 to the handout, increasing the total disbursement to $70. On the other hand, employers in the tourism sector are encouraged to voluntarily provide as much money as possible.
Additionally, hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and travel agents registered with the General Department of Taxation will be exempt from taxes for the third quarter, but are still required to file their tax returns and use the online e-VAT system to manage their value-added taxes (VAT) each month.
The exemption, however, only applies to tourist businesses in Kampot, Preah Sihanouk, Kep and Siem Reap provinces, Phnom Penh, Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town and Banteay Meanchey province’s Poipet town. Read more
On May 12, 2021:
The Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training has announced the provision of the 60th round of unemployment benefits for over 5,000 workers in the garment and tourist sectors affected by the pandemic.
The ministry said the payments will be paid in riel and were based on the number of days of the employee’s contract suspension. Each worker would receive 60,750 riel ($15) for contracts suspended from seven to 10 days; 121,500 riel for contracts suspended from 11 to 20 days; and 162,000 riel for contracts suspended from 21 days to a month or more. Read more
On May 11, 2021:
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) can expect to receive financial relief in the near future from two recently announced projects backed by the United Nations in Cambodia and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF).
The two projects, which have a combined budget of $1.8 million, will aim to extend financial liquidity to MSMEs with a focus on women-led businesses. Read more
On March 28, 2021:
The private sector rejoiced as the government on March 25 announced its eight-round of measures to keep businesses afloat and stimulate economic growth as the Kingdom grapples with surging novel coronavirus infections.
The support measures centre on garments, textiles, footwear, travel goods, bags and tourism, and the government in April-June will continue to provide $40 per month to workers in the sectors as part of its cash handout programme amid the pandemic. Read more
On March 25, 2021:
The Cambodian government extended tax breaks for airline companies and tourism-related businesses for another three months from April to June, 2021 to help offset losses caused by the COVID-19.
The extended measures aim to mitigate the impact of the Feb. 20 community outbreak of COVID-19 on socio-economic situation and to continue supporting businesses in the context of COVID-19. Read more
On March 24, 2021:
The Ministry of Tourism has decided to waive fines for tourist businesses that have been late in applying or have yet to apply for licences until the end of this year. Read more
On February 4, 2021:
Khmer Enterprise (KE) said from February 1, it will accept applications from small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and start-ups that need capital to offset business and operational challenges amid Covid-19. Read more
On January 12, 2021:
The Ministry of Tourism provides short course to staff working in tourism sectors in target provinces in order to refresh and strengthen their skills as the Kingdom expected to attract at least half a million tourists in 2021, depending on the Covid-19 situation. Read more
On December 25:
The government has extended its financial support programmes to aid the garment and textile industry, tourism sectors and poor people for another three months from January to March 2021. Read more
On December 10:
The Ministry of Tourism will extend the licence fee exemption for all tourism-related business to next year due to the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The exemption of payment for all kinds of tourism licence fees will be implemented for the period from January 1, 2021, to December 31, 2021. Read more
On November 18:
The Ministry of Environment is working to spur local economic development by organising small-scale tourism products in communities to provide new jobs and boost local incomes. Read more
On November 17:
Minister of Labour and Vocational Training Ith Sam Heng on November 16 announced that workers who lost their jobs due to Covid-19 can apply for a free four-month technical and vocational training course. Read more
On September 30:
Cambodia’s government issued its sixth round of incentives aimed at supporting private sector workers and the economy.
The latest incentives are an extension of existing ones, in particular those providing financial support for the country’s garment, textile, and footwear industries. The government has also extended the payment of Minimum Tax for the aviation industry in addition to the payment of aviation fees by airlines. Read more
On August 1:
The Cambodian government extended tax breaks for aviation companies and tourism-related businesses for another two months to help offset losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more
On July 18:
The Cambodian Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) has issued two main measures to solve the current issues faced by small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The first measure focuses on compliance for SMEs regarding checking the possibility to provide support including business consultants, lawyers, legal consultants, business registration, accounting, marketing and technical aspects.
The second measure will support the eco-system of SMEs such as continuing to reform the regulation framework and its implementation, promoting supported business services, supporting funding, promoting the market, driving and bolstering human resources and research and development and promoting the concept of entrepreneurship skills. Read more
On July 9:
The Cambodian government has allocated 1.16 billion U.S. dollars to address the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economy and Finance Ministry Secretary of State Vongsey Vissoth said here on Wednesday.
“The amount of 564 million dollars has been allocated for health and social assistance and 600 million dollars for economic support through lending to small and medium enterprises,” he said during a press conference.
Since the virus outbreak, the government has released 364 million dollars for economic and social supports, he said. Read more
On June 24:
The Royal Government of Cambodia will launch a cash relief programme for the poor and vulnerable families during this COVID-19 crisis on Wednesday, June 24.
The cash fund aimed to assist those locals whose job has been suspended due to COVID-19 crisis especially the poor in remote areas who are facing food shortage.
On June 14:
UNWTO comes to Cambodia’s aid with COVID-19 response package while standing to lose $3 billion in tourism revenue. A technical assistance package of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) to rehabilitate the tourism sector in Asia and the Pacific region after Covid-19 crisis has been discussed.
The discussion was made through a recent video conference held with the participation of tourism ministers from UNWTO member countries, including Thong Khon, Cambodia’s Minister of Tourism.
Speaking for Cambodia, Mr Khon underlined the significance of the WTO’s technical assistance package including the planning to restore and develop the economy and tourism during the post Covid-19 period.
On June 8:
Cambodia’s microfinance institutions (MFIs) have approved loan restructures valued at almost $817 million for more than 180,000 customers among a total of nearly 200,000 customers who have requested assistance since May, according to the Cambodia Microfinance Association (CMA).
Kaing Tongngy, spokesperson for the CMA, said that currently only four priority sectors have been approved for loan restructuring. These include tourism, construction, transportation and the garment industry with the association now going to add agriculture as a fifth sector too.
On June 8:
The government executed four measures, extending for another two months a tax exemption from June to July for hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and tour operators.
It also provided an exemption for tourism licence fees for 2021 and said they were not required to pay into the National Social Security Fund during the crisis.
On June 7:
World Bank helps Kingdom tackle Covid-19.
In Cambodia, the government has introduced the $2 billion fourth round of stimulus measures aimed at ensuring economic and social stability. The move is designed to help businesses, factories and enterprises – especially small and medium-sized enterprises – to stay afloat while reducing the burden on poor people through social assistance programmes.
On June 1:
Cambodia has requested the European Union assist the Kingdom’s hard-hit tourism sector once the COVID-19 pandemic has been resolved and international travel begins again.
The request came after Tourism Minister Thong Khon and EU Ambassador to Cambodia Carmen Moreno held a bilateral talk last week, discussing Cambodia’s tourism sector, which is considered one of the country’s four economic pillars.
Thong Khon formally asked for the ambassador’s support and cooperation, requesting the union share advice on how to restore the sector while also seeking to promote the Kingdom’s tourism destinations in the EU market.
On May 27:
The Royal Government of Cambodia has announced additional measures to assist COVID-19-affected private sector and factory workers and to restore the economy after the crisis.
For tourism sector, registered hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, and tour agencies operating in Phnom Penh capital; Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kep, and Kampot provinces; and Bavet and Poipet cities will be exempted from all types of monthly taxes for another two months – June and July, stressing that registered airline companies will benefit from the exemption of minimum tax payment till July this year.
On May 25:
About 55,000 garment-textile workers and 4,300 others working in the tourism sector in Cambodia, who have become jobless by the COVID-19 pandemic, each will receive monthly financial support worth 40 USD through their Wing Specialised Bank accounts next week.
The Ministry of Labour’s spokesperson Heng Sour said the government has already allocated its budget to 126 factories and 53 hotels that have registered for support to their workers, the Khmer Times reported.
According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, approximately 300-350 million USD has been delivered to different economic sectors.
On Apr 21:
The Cambodian government on April 21 announced a three-month tax exemption for hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and travel agencies in Phnom Penh and several provinces.
The exemption takes effect from March to May this year, applicable for hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and travel agencies in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Preah Sihanouk, Kep, Kampot, Bavet city and Poipet city, which are registered with the General Department of Taxation.
On Apr 17:
Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism (MOT) and the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MLVT), issued MOT Letter 11 and Instruction No. 045/20, respectively, which provides additional measures to support businesses and employees in the tourism and garment industry.
MOT Letter 11 extends the number of cities in which businesses in the tourism sector can apply for tax exemption, while Instruction No. 045/20 sets out the obligations that businesses must adhere to in order for them to suspend employment contracts. This includes assisting employees in applying for the government monthly allowance.
On Apr 9:
The Cambodian Government allocated up to US$ 2 billion for economic fallout from Coronavirus. The government allocated US$ 800 million to US$ 2 billion to address the economic impacts of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The lower end of the allocation would help deal with economic slowdown over the next six months, with the US $2 billion expected to be needed if the outbreak lasted more than one year.
On Apr 3:
The government has issued a three-month minimum tax exemption for the aviation sector and exemption on monthly taxes for tourism operators.
These measures are aimed at easing the burden of the private sector affected by the virus’ spread. The minimum 10 per cent tax exemption applied from last month to next month for airlines operating in Cambodia.
The government also allowed airlines to set up debt repayment plans to be paid in instalments following the temporary suspension.
On Feb 25:
Cambodia issued regulations to support businesses recently impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as well as from the partial withdrawal of ‘Everything but Arms’ (EBA) status by the European Union (EU).
The regulations provide tax breaks and holidays for the country’s manufacturing, tourism, agriculture, and property industries. These are key industries to Cambodia’s economy, especially, the garment and footwear sectors, which accounted for 80 percent of the country’s exports.
Tourism has been a growing sector to the Cambodian economy. In 2015, the government launched the ‘China Ready for Cambodia Tourism’ policy to attract more Chinese tourists. The policy resulted in two million Chinese tourists visiting the country in 2019.
With the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, however, the country is unlikely to meet its target of two million Chinese visitors in 2020.
To combat this, hotels and guesthouses located in the Siem Reap province will be exempted from paying tax from February to May 2020.
Additionally, the government has offered special deals for tourists visiting the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap and where the Angkor Wat temple is located. These are:
- A one-day ticket will be valid for two days until June 25, 2020;
- Three-day tickets will be valid for five days;
- The seven-day passes will be valid for 10 days.