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Opening a hotel or guesthouse in Cambodia involves a number of administrative steps. While it would be nice to simply find a suitable space and open one’s doors to paying guests, the reality is quite different.

Hotels and guesthouses (the difference is really one of size and nomenclature) are businesses like any other. That means that, while not strictly necessary, it is highly advisable that the owners establish a private limited company. Otherwise, they would be personally liable for the debts of the business. Like any company, you’ll also have to pay taxes – meaning obtaining a Patent Certificate and making periodic tax payments. Finally, you’ll need to obtain a hotel or guesthouse license from the Ministry of Tourism. This in turn requires a number preliminary approvals to check the sanitation and safety of the facilities. A fuller explanation of the procedures and applicable laws and regulations can be found in our recent report.

Failure to follow the proper procedure can lead to delays in opening and fines. Best to do it correctly from the start.


It’s no secret that tourism is a big part of the kingdom’s economy, and hopefully set to get much bigger.

This short publication outlines the steps needed for opening a travel agency – from registering at the Ministry of Commerce, to getting the proper license from the Ministry of Tourism, to filing with the Tax Department.

It’s not overly complicated, but doing it right the first time can save a lot of hassle down the road.

The Phnom Penh Post reports on the ongoing controversy over tourist boats. Renting a boat along the riverside for a sunset cruise is one of my favorite ways to end the day. But if critics are right, the price is about to go up. The newly formed Association of Phnom Penh Water Tourist Transport argues they’ll bring order to bookings, which I admit can be pretty haphazard and frustrating at times. Critics say it’s a cartel that will lead to higher fares.

Both could be proved right, and we’d end up with a central booking monopoly. Orderly, but more expensive. What’s needed is antitrust or competition law, to ban such price fixing. But even in countries with such laws, enforcement is far from perfect. There’s been some foreign technical assistance to draft such a law, but to my knowledge, it’s still a long way away.


The work of a handful of attorneys at BNG Legal, this blog's mission is to keep the world up-to-date on legal issues in the Kingdom of Cambodia.

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