Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

World Heritage Angkor and Beyond

 | 
Brigitta Hauser-Schäublin

III. Heritage and Development

Angkor as World Heritage Site and the Development of Tourism

A Study of Tourist Revenue in the Accommodation Sector in Siem Reap-Angkor

Baromey Neth

Texte intégral

Introduction

1The economy of Siem Reap (SR) has been transformed from agriculture as the primary sector to secondary (labour-intensive) and tertiary (service) industries over the past 20 years, since the listing of Angkor as a World Heritage Site in 1992. The pattern of such economic restoration has produced a change in employment creation as the local economy grows and develops at a steady rate. This has caused an emerging trend among tourism developers and planners aiming to move beyond conservation issues of conventional management mechanisms for the Angkor World Heritage Site and heading towards sustainable development and poverty reduction. Despite strong optimism to gain spin-off outcomes of tourism as a main factor of development to benefit SR and its locals, this province clings on to its rank as the third poorest province in Cambodia in terms of human development (World Bank 2007; UNDP 2007, cited in Esposito and Nam 2008).

2The discussion on tourism employment in the Siem Reap-Angkor Region (SRAR) is a hot issue and usually focuses on formal employment sectors, especially accommodation, which provides formal jobs alongside other local business activities of the formal economy. The growth of tourist demand, Riley, Ladkin and Szivas (2006) argue, essentially influences the rate of tourism employment in the host destination. However, it is doubtful that a constantly increasing amount of tourists visiting SRAR denotes increased work opportunities for the local residents, especially the poor and vulnerable. This would raise the question of where in the economy do the people who take up work or jobs in the SRAR’s tourism industry come from, as the context of its development is clearly entwined with the influx of migrants (local and international) who are also an active tourism workforce in the province. The establishment of the Angkor World Heritage Site, which prevails over the conservation status, economic interests or expense of the region, especially through top-down management (i. e. the zoning system), should abound with fair and adequate advantages for the local population. This paper, based on research carried out mostly in 2009, investigates to what extent the establishment and roles of the Angkor World Heritage Site, especially through tourism as a core of development, contributes to the local economic stimulation, poverty reduction and livelihood improvement. It underlies the mutual impacts of tourism and the top-down management of UNESCO and the Cambodian government, represented by the APSARA Authority, over the Angkor World Heritage Site concerning the livelihood improvement of the local inhabitants.

  • 1 Cited in Kontogeorgopoulos (1998), Lea (1988) mentioned that there are three types of tourism emplo (...)

3However, it is time-consuming and thorny to investigate the entire contribution of the Angkor World Heritage Site management in facilitating benefits for promoting the local economy and living conditions through different sectors and three major types1 of tourism-related employment. Lockwood and Guerrier (1990) suggest that a tourism-related employment study stresses the amount of jobs provided by the accommodation sector, which shows an obvious and easily determined measurement of tourism’s ability to create direct job opportunities for the host community. Therefore, based on these reasons, this study only explores how big the in-destination revenue gained through tourism with respect to the accommodation sector in the SRAR is, and how much it contributes to the economic development and the living conditions of the locals.

4Three approaches were applied to collect relevant data for a comprehensive and systematic analysis of tourism accommodation as a sector for employment in the SRAR. Firstly, an extensive documentary review and analysis were conducted on a wide range of secondary data. These included documents, plans, strategy and policy papers, regulations of governmental and semi-governmental institutions, reports and records of developmental organizations, international and local NGOs, population census and statistics, research papers, and Siem Reap provincial authorities’ documents and statistics.

  • 2 Though the interviews followed standardized and structured questionnaires, the researcher managed t (...)

5The second approach is based on 100 questionnaire survey interviews with accommodation proprietors and managers in Siem Reap province. This approach encompassed two phases in choosing the sample of accommodation (hotels and guesthouses) in order to ensure the quality and representativeness of data. To avoid sampling error and bias in selecting the sampling frame, the first phase involved the compilation of two complete lists of accommodation (one for hotels and another for guesthouses). This work was carried out by using the up-to-date accommodation business directory of the Ministry of Tourism, the Cambodian Hotel Association, Siem Reap Provincial Office of Tourism, and the Council for the Development of Cambodia. The second phase focused on categorizing all the hotels and guesthouses in those two separate lists into three groups (small, medium and large), depending on the size, price range, rating and number of rooms of each accommodation. Following this thorough collection of hotel and guesthouse names and classification, a 30% sampling frame of both forms of accommodation (hotels and guesthouses) was selected through a probability random sampling technique for the questionnaire survey. Eventually, 36 hotels and 64 guesthouses were chosen from the lists and their proprietors or managers interviewed accordingly.2

6Thirdly, nine in-depth expert interviews were undertaken with a range of relevant tourism-related employment stakeholders who were carefully selected for this study. These respondents included representatives of the Ministry of Tourism responsible for the Department of Tourism Industry, the Cambodian Hotel Association, Siem Reap Provincial Office of Tourism, the Council for the Development of Cambodia, the APSARA Authority, Siem Reap Provincial Municipality, the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, Siem Reap Workers' Union, and an academic/scientist or tourism expert. The content of the interviews covered wide-ranging issues related to regular employment in the tourism sector, business ownership rights, pro-poor business practices, the employment crisis, incentives, policies or regulations for the accommodation business, tourism revenue generation via accommodation and leakages, access to employment opportunities in the accommodation sector, staff working conditions and turnover in hotels and guesthouses, economic opportunities related to the growth and development of the accommodation sector in the SRAR, and suggestions or recommendations for promoting tourism accommodation as an employment sector for local economic development and poverty reduction in the SRAR.

7Since the nature of this research entailed both quantitative and qualitative approaches, several methods were employed to analyse different forms of data. The secondary data were analysed by using a text-based analysis method depending on the content, essence and relevance of the documents. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS), particularly descriptive statistics, correlation coefficients and multivariate analyses, were used for analysing quantitative data from the questionnaire survey of accommodation proprietors and managers. Framework analysis, which involves different systematic and tactical stages of analysis ranging from familiarization and theme categorization to interpretation, was applied thoroughly in order to analyse qualitative data from the expert interviews, as well as from the informal discussions with accommodation proprietors and managers.

Tourist Arrivals and Tourism Growth

8Cambodia witnessed 2.125 million international visitor arrivals in 2008, presenting an increase of 5.5% compared to 2007. This amount was made up of same-day visitors (124,000), boat visitors (72,000), land visitors (690,000), and air visitors (1,239,000). Based on statistics of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT 2008a), international tourist arrivals in the SRAR dropped by 5.42% compared to 2007, but this represented a 49.87% share of the total amount of visits to Cambodia (see Fig. 1). This was mainly due to the global economic slowdown and financial crisis, and partly due to the swine flu outbreak and the Cambodian-Thai border conflict. However, if added to the number of domestic tourists visiting the SRAR in 2008 (1,195,264 amounted to a 34% increase compared to 2007), the total tourist visits would exceed two million. This somehow helped the SRAR to maintain the balance of its internal tourism growth based upon both inbound tourism and domestic flow. According to the MoT Annual Tourism Statistics (2008a), foreign tourists came to the SRAR for different purposes. Holiday-making (85.1%) is the most popular purpose of a visit, followed by business travel (7.5%), official travel (2.5%), visiting friends and relatives (VFR; 3.2%), and others (1.6%). Remarkably, most foreign tourists are first-time visitors (92%), thus producing a big challenge for this province to always look for new visitors in the coming years and to promote quality and diversified tourism products and services to obtain high tourist satisfaction for return or repeated visits.

Month

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

January

27,026

39,022

48,507

64,174

73,702

86279

185,163

121,975

February

26,522

41,019

44,092

51,416

77,466

81,787

111,459

120,657

March

26,142

48,791

35,239

41,798

64,983

73,719

103,190

113,758

April

19,017

34,237

17,635

31,062

52,651

64,765

85,769

91,105

May

13,887

28,565

10,135

27,590

39,860

45,516

68,292

72,447

June

12,653

21,056

11,681

27,107

36,643

43294

61,573

58,852

July

17,564

29,364

20,172

35,979

48,913

56,421

62,976

65,896

August

23,455

37,508

30,594

48,130

63,853

74,365

69,196

78,254

September

15,516

25,985

34,731

43,124

41,333

55,964

56,170

64,855

October

18,453

33,020

34,350

48,720

54,344

71,086

86,833

79,200

November

25,835

47,121

55,845

67,722

77,704

96,068

107,330

95,984

December

37,987

67,460

59,761

74,125

70,552

107,913

122,635

96,887

Total

264,057

453,148

402,742

560,947

692,004

857,177

1,120,586

1,059,870

Fig. 1: International tourist arrivals to Siem Reap Province by month (source: after Department of Planning and Statistics, MoT 2009).

Country of residence

Mean –

Nights

N

Median – Nights

Kurtosis

Skewness

Relative Sampling

Error % +/-

Australia

4.3

231

4

27.5

3.9

8

Canada

3.8

57

3

13.7

3.4

16

China

3.8

55

4

3.9

1.1

9

France

3.8

238

3

45.6

5.6

9

Germany

4.2

89

3

8.1

2 7

15

Japan

3.5

420

3

11.8

2.4

3

Korea

2.9

477

3

73.3

6.2

4

Malaysia

3.6

271

3

1.8

1.1

4

Singapore

3.7

83

3

4.3

1.6

8

Taiwan

4.1

348

4

59.3

6.7

2

Thailand

2.9

96

3

1.3

1.2

9

UK

4.8

193

4

13.4

3.3

12

USA

3.1

273

3

37.5

4.5

7

Hong Kong

3.7

88

3

25.6

4.3

9

Total

3.7

2919*

3

40.2

5.0

2

* Note that the total of N has been changed, because the total of N = 3291 in the source table is not correct.
Fig. 2: Average length of stay of international visitors in Siem Reap Province by country of residence; ‘ N’stands for number (source: after Tourism & Leisure 2009:29).

9The SRAR is one of the major determinants of tourist arrivals in Cambodia. As mentioned by the MoT (2008b), most foreign tourists come from Asia and the Pacific (62.46%) and ASEAN (26.37%), whereas the least generating regions remain the Middle East (0.35%) and Africa (0.19%). Cambodia, as a multiple-country destination, attracted more group inclusive travellers (62.5%) than free independent travellers (37.5%). The top ten market segments of tourist visits to Cambodia are South Korea (12.5%), Vietnam (9.9%), Japan (7.7%), USA (6.8%), China (6.1%), Thailand (5.1%), France (4.6%), UK (4.6%), Australia (4.0%), and Taiwan (3.9%). Most foreign tourists come to the SRAR by air (50%), and others come by land (37%) and boat (13%). The high tourist season is usually from early November to late March. Group package tours play the most crucial role in the growth of the tourism industry in the SRAR according to Tourism & Leisure (2009).

Fig. 3: Components of tourism expenditure in Siem Reap in 2007 (source: after Tourism & Leisure 2009:32).

10Compared to the average length of stay for international tourists in Cambodia (5 – 7 days) reported by the MoT (2008a), the SRAR is a relatively short-stay holiday destination for tourist markets (3.76 nights). However, the analysis conducted by Tourism & Leisure (2009) reiterated that the tourist length of stay varies between markets and types of tourist generating regions, and tourists from Europe and the USA usually prefer staying longer (see Fig. 2).

11The majority of international tourists (94%) mentioned the SRAR and its temple complex as the main reason of their visit to Cambodia (Tourism & Leisure 2009). Different tourist markets and regions have produced different direct expenditures during their visits depending on duration and location (see Fig. 3). However, it was estimated that the average daily tourist expenses in the SRAR had declined to USD 126 in 2008, which was considerably below the level of average daily expenses of about USD 160 per tourist in 2007 (MPDF 2007a).

12Since the SRAR depends strongly on Angkor Park as a major attraction, its tourism development is normally polarized within particular areas which usually host a great influx of tourist arrivals. The constant pattern of tourist arrivals in SR province has triggered a large number of visitors at protected sites, short-stay visits due to insufficient and undiversified tourism products and services, and other challenges to current site and visitor management and the carrying capacity of the must-see sites. Tourism has been concentrated on SR town and district so far, due to its suitable and fast-developed urban features, accommodation base and its close proximity to the airport.

Tourism and Economic Development

13Despite being the seventh most populated province with an annual average population growth rate of 2.6% (1% higher than the national level) and the third poorest province in Cambodia (51% of its population are poor, i. e. live on less than USD 1 per day), SR has experienced a dramatic change in its conventional structural economy. In-migration from the nearby provinces and other areas is the major cause of the rapid population growth in SR (JICA 2006b), due to the fast development of the service sector and the increasing demand of tourists for services in the tourism industry. The majority of the newly increased population in SR is composed of temporary in-migrants (JICA 2006c). Most of the people in the various districts of SR Province, especially in SR town and the adjoining two districts along National Route 6 (Puok and Prasat Bakong), have transformed their occupations significantly from the primary sector (agriculture: 76%) to the secondary (industry: 10.4%) and the tertiary one (service industry: 13.2%), according to the Cambodia Socio-Economic Survey (2004). However, the economic performance for SR development is still reliant on donations (USD 0.042 per resident) from the state government and especially from overseas development assistance (CDC 2004).

14Tourism participated in Cambodia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with around 50% of the total tourism expenditure in SR (USD 521.6 million) in 2007, USD 200 million of which is generated as SR’s Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP), which accounts for 25% of the total GRDP (Tourism & Leisure 2009). Most of the tourist expenses were spent on tourism accommodation (about 29%), followed by shopping (about 26%), meals and drinks (about 13%), and other items (about 32%) including local and hired transport, tourist activities and tours, local guides, entrance fees, tips, etc. (see Fig. 3). According to the estimate by Tourism & Leisure (2009), the first three categories of tourist expenses, especially accommodation services, have given a substantial contribution to SR’s local economy. Such a contribution, on the one hand, has produced considerable income generation and job creation for the local inhabitants and other Cambodian nationals, while on the other hand, it has produced a high cost of living for the residents of SR town. Employment in tourism enterprises in SR is approximately 50,000 jobs, 21,000 of which are direct employment.

  • 3 Results of the expert interviews with SR’s Departments of Tourism and Planning and the APSARA Autho (...)
  • 4 Results of the expert interviews with SR’s Department of Labour and Vocational Training.

15The study shows that only an area of around 10km 2 in SR province, which includes especially the inhabitants in SR town, receives the most direct and indirect benefits from tourism development.3 Between 70% and 75% of SR’s local inhabitants who work in the tourism industry are between 18 and 60 years old.4 This figure strongly supports the findings of a survey conducted by ILO (2004, cited in JICA 2006b) stating that 71% of the tourism workers in SR are from SR province itself. Most of the tourism employees come from SR town, while others are from the Puok, Kralanh, Sot Nikom, Chi Kreng, Bakong, Bateay Srey, and Angkor Thom districts. There is an equal share of labour between SR people and permanent and temporary in-migrants in restaurants alone (50:50). Revenue distribution is significantly unequal; only those living in the town or close to the centres benefit from tourism, although the majority of them are low-skilled or unskilled labourers. Monthly salaries for the local inhabitants working in the tourism industry range from USD 40 to USD 800, depending on their positions, skills and experience.

16As repeatedly mentioned by expert interviewees, a number of reasons were given with regard to the limited access of SR locals to current tourism jobs, especially at professional and supervisory or specialized levels; these include: limited access to information sharing; cultural attitudes (or rather prejudices such as “being slow at work or to adapt new skills and unenthusiastic about working in a far-off workplace away from their homes”); limited skills, knowledge and experience; and limited capital (human and social). Most of the current SR local staff access jobs through direct networking, job placement firms or institutions, including universities and vocational training schools.

17The immediate beneficiaries in terms of tourism employment are those who work in the accommodation sector (hotels and guesthouses) in SR, as indicated by the MPDF (2007b), the MoT (2008a), and Tourism & Leisure (2009). Tourism has generated a wide range of tourism jobs in other economic activities, both formal and informal, even though some of these do not cater exclusively to tourists. These activities are to be found in food and beverages (F & B), entertainment and sport clubs, transport, tour operators and travel agencies (TO & TA), souvenir shops, and other tourism related sectors. According to the Annual Report of Tourism Work 2008 and the Directions for 2009 made by the Siem Reap Provincial Department of Tourism (SR-PDoT 2009), the tourism accommodation industry in SR provides most jobs out of the total (11,201 workers, 7,784 directly recruited by hotels and guesthouses), whereas jobs connected with tour guides, tourist buses and cars, restaurants, motor taxis, entertainment and sport clubs, TO & TA, and the APSARA Authority attract 3,442, 3,329, 1,825, 1,463, 851, 406, and 240 (only those involved in tourism labour) workers, respectively. Tourism accommodation in SR, being the most absorbing job industry, does not only generate labour for the local inhabitants, but also creates a centre of job attention for those from other provinces. About half of the tourism accommodation staff are non-SR residents. In the surge of tourism jobs in the SRAR since 2004, the pattern and potential of the tourism accommodation sector has provided a substantial range of opportunities to stimulate the local economy and income, as well as contributed significantly to the GDP growth and poverty alleviation in Cambodia.

Entrance Fees in Angkor Park and their Redistribution

18As mentioned earlier, more than USD 500 million was made through different sectors of the tourism economy in SR, and approximately USD 200 million remained a substantial part of SR’s GRDP in 2008, most of which stays focused on SR town and the Angkor Region (Tourism & Leisure 2009). However, as the results of the expert interviews highlight, the revenues from tourism development are unequally distributed within SR province, especially between rural and urban areas, due to polarization, limited infrastructure and superstructure, a lack of tourism product development and diversification which could allow SR's rural inhabitants to participate, a weak institutional framework, overlapping mandates and responsibilities, and insufficient institutional collaboration.

19Local economic development in SR is interrelated with a long rural-urban continuum, especially in the way that the current dichotomy between urban and rural areas is reduced, while integrated development and conservation plans are undertaken promptly to support SR multi-sector development policies. The lingering educational and rural development frameworks in SR following its full political integration in 1998 are translated into many areas which are underdeveloped or less developed, with a majority of the population remaining involved in subsistence agriculture and fishing due to their limited capacities and resources. Interregional migration among the SR youth from rural areas is considerably high, especially among those who are attracted by an increasing demand for unskilled or semi-skilled labourers in the labour-intensive industry in SR town, as stressed by Acharya et al. (2003), Godfrey et al. (2001), and CDRI (2008). Additionally, labour productive people from SR are reported to have migrated to Thailand in search of temporary off-farm jobs. Factors influencing inter-migration and out-migration of the SR local inhabitants include chronic poverty, landlessness, depletion of natural resources or common pool resources, lack of year-round employment, debts, natural disasters, success stories of their migrant relatives or friends, and the demand for an unskilled, low-skilled or semi-skilled workforce in labour-intensive (i. e. garment factories, construction) and service industries (i. e. hotels, restaurants).

20As has been shown, tourism revenues in SR are generally made up of both direct and indirect tourist expenditure on services and products provided by formal and informal tourism or tourism-related economies. Two major state actors, the SR Department of Tourism (SRDoT) and the APSARA Authority (AA), are responsible for tourism development and management, including fee collection, in the SRAR(MPDF, 2007a; Tourism & Leisure 2009; APSARA Authority 2009). The SRDoT is a line department within the provincial government, and works under the umbrella of the Ministry of Tourism (MoT). The AA is a state statutory body in charge of cultural heritage site management and conservation at the Angkor Park and its vicinity over the 401km2 territory in Zones 1 and 2, which covers 112 villages in 21 communes within five districts of SR Province. The AA's roles and responsibilities are also set aside for land management, environmental protection and socio-economic development of the local inhabitants residing within the areas of influence of the cultural heritage sites. The SRDoT does not play any crucial role in the SRAR, although it should have obtained priority authority over tourism within the SR provincial government. The AA, as an autonomous institution, has been given complete rights over tourism-related management and administrative work in order to deal with the conservation and protection of cultural heritage and natural resources and to promote revenue collection from entrance fees to the Angkor archaeological park. In general, the SRDoT’s roles and functions are limited to regulating, supervising and monitoring tourism industry businesses (i. e. accommodation, TO & TA, guide services, etc.) outside the AA’s management zones and ensuring that they fulfil the governmental conditions. However, the SRDoT has not consented to manage tourist sites, the majority of which are cultural-historical, excluding a few of the natural and manmade ones. The SRDoT’s main tasks are also: (1) the granting of permission and issuance of tourism business licenses for any tourist accommodation smaller than 15 rooms, otherwise the permit mechanisms have to be carried out by the MoT, Ministry of Commerce (MoC) and Council for Development of Cambodia (CDC) at a national level; and (2) the collection of annual tourist license fees from tourism-related businesses.

Month

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Change 2009/08 (%)

Trimester 1

120.877

202,382

261,790

334,776

372,111

288,843

-22.38

January

51,875

79,398

92,976

123,570

124,548

107,339

-13.82

February

37,342

67,386

87,740

109,312

129,883

95,006

-26.85

March

31,660

55,598

91,074

101,894

117,680

86,498

-26.50

Trimester 2

73,936

119,732

151,629

214,178

212,503

166,331

-21.73

April

26,830

45,131

58,791

76,370

82,145

66,168

-19.45

May

25,474

39,558

49,625

67,729

72,786

56,989

-21.70

June

21,632

35,013

43,213

70,079

57,572

43,174

-25.01

Trimester 3

97,918

149,965

175,137

235,131

211,982

July

29,954

49,495

56,170

78,579

70,970

August

37,229

59,478

67,628

90,481

82,521

September

30,735

40,992

51,339

66,121

58,491

Trimester 4

158,315

218,908

269,267

322,755

260,177

October

39,193

59,543

70,295

85,989

73,677

November

56,130

79,910

92,929

114,930

96,938

December

62,992

79,455

106,043

121,836

39,562

Total

451,046

690,987

857,823

1,106,890

1,056,773

455,174

-22.14%

Fig. 4: International tourist statistics of entrance tickets purchased for Angkor Park from January 2004 to June 2009 (Tourism Statistics and Planning Office, Department of Angkor Development, June - 1st Semester - 2009).

  • 5 Fees are collected from selling tickets to international tourists to visit the Angkor Park and its (...)

21The AA's collection of the entrance fees to the Angkor Park5 is carried out through a private concessionaire known as Sokimex or the so-called Sokha Hotel Group (SHG), which is authorised as the sole private body on behalf of the AA and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) in the management of the fees, fee flow and fee allocation (MoT 2009). Based on a mutual agreement between the MEF and SHG, the governance of the entrance fees pursues the following principles:

  • The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC), through the MEF and its General Department of Taxes, have the right to take 10% of the total revenue collected from the entrance fees as Value Added Tax (VAT).

  • If the revenue is USD 3 million or less, it will be divided into two shares and distributed equally to the AA and the SHG (i. e. 50% to each).

  • If the revenue exceeds USD 3 million, 15% of the total fees will be remitted into the account of the Angkor Development Committee that is responsible for the sustainable development of Angkor Complex. Of the remaining 85% of the total fees, 80% will be allocated to the AA and 20% to the SHG.

  • The revenue or share given to the AA is considered and transferred to the MEF as a national budget.

22According to the Report of Tourism Statistics produced by the APSARA Authority (2009), the number of foreign tourists purchasing entrance tickets to the Angkor Park has increased dramatically since 2004 (451,046), and in 2008 it amounted to 1,056,773; however, this was a 4.52% decrease compared to 2007 (see Fig. 4).

23The number of days of tourist visits is usually kept confidential. Unlike the release of the MoT’s verbal report (2009) of the receipts in 2007 (USD 32 million), the NZAid (cited in Tourism & Leisure 2009) stressed that the MEF is reported as obtaining approximately USD 50 million annually from the entrance fees. The AA receives about USD 10 – 12 million from the annual national transfer budget to cover its administrative costs and support its management, development and conservation activities. Although the AA is well staffed, the amount of support it receives from the MEF is well below that needed to proactively manage and preserve the cultural heritage sites within the Angkor archaeological park and other tourist sites in the SRAR. The meagreness of available funds together with other administrative challenges could be translated into a risk, and a projection that the process of management and preservation of cultural heritage sites, including physical restoration and maintenance, in the SRAR cannot be performed efficiently and effectively. Therefore, it is envisaged that visitor impacts at the sites will increase due to unsound management, and thus make cultural heritage resources, particularly the tangible ones, deteriorate and produce a further threat to the AA’s conservation activities. The SRDoT and the SR local government do not benefit from the entrance fees and, what is even worse, the main revenues from SR tourism do not really benefit the development of the province, which is struggling to restore itself and to become a more stable and economically prosperous region.

Structure and Ownership of Tourist Accommodations

24Countrywide, Cambodia has seven different types of tourist accommodation: (1) hotels (apartment, suite and resort hotels), (2) motels, (3) lodges, (4) bungalows, (5) guesthouses, (6) home-stays, and (7) camping sites (MoT 2008c). However, only two major types, hotels and guesthouses, are being dynamically run in the SRAR, most of which are located in SR town (SR Provincial Department of Tourism – SR-PDoT 2008). At present, Cambodia does not have any official rating system for accommodation. Based on its first-hand principles, the MoT has divided tourism accommodation in SR into five different categories by using the standard international rating (provisional) scheme which rates each of the accommodation establishments between one and five stars based on its size, number of rooms, facilities, location, and a range of services and products offered to tourist or non-tourist customers. This impermanent, seldom used, rating scheme applies three common standards – superior or first class, deluxe and standard – for the assessment and classification of each officially registered hotel accommodation. In terms of guesthouses, approximately 90% of the establishments are (unofficially) rated one star or less, and none of them is high-class. The study shows that only 16 hotels out of the total have received formal star rating from the MoT and its line provincial department since 2007.

25The total investment in hotel accommodation in SR reached USD 151,670,959 in late 2008, 22.3% of which is foreign investment (see Fig. 6).

26There were 115 hotels in SR in 2008: 19.4% were owned by foreign proprietors, mostly from South Korea (22.72%) and France (22.72%), and other countries, such as the UK (13.63%), Thailand (13.63%), Malaysia (13.63%), Australia (13.63%), Dominica, China, Switzerland, and Norway (SR-PDoT 2008). Although the majority of guesthouse establishments in SR are operated by local people, there has been a significant increase in the number of foreign proprietorships in this business: the number more than doubled between 2002 and 2008. The room rates for hotel and guesthouse accommodation range from USD 15 to USD 1,900 and from USD 3 to USD 35, respectively. Hotels (4,880 rooms) and guesthouses (2,671 rooms) in SR employing a total of 6,838 and 946 staff, respectively, in 2008, had enough capacity to accommodate the growing number of foreign tourists, yet they are cautious and unsure with regard to the influx of domestic tourists. However, unlike high-class and group or package tour travellers, most domestic tourists and foreign independent travellers or backpackers commonly stay in guesthouses in SR, and thus provide more direct impacts on local-owned businesses in the area. According to the estimate conducted in collaboration with the SRDoT, the accommodation industry’s earnings might reach about USD 120 million in 2008, approximately 15%-20% might be paid out for staff salaries and at least half of this turnover might provide direct impact on local income.

Fig. 5: New hotel with a roof in the form of a Buddhist monastery (pagoda) (2011).

Year

Total No.

Total Capital Investment

Hotels

Guesthouses

Type of Ownership

Local

Foreigner

Local

Foreigner

No.

Investment

No.

Investment

No.

No.

1999

23

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

31

0

2000

31

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

67

3

2001

49

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

97

3

2002

57

$98,956,519

50

$42,773,836

7

$56,182,683

115

8

2003

58

$103,056,519

49

$46,253,836

9

$56,802,683

117

11

2004

70

$147,260,959

58

$69,208,276

12

$78,052,683

120

12

2005

82

$161,535,959

68

$77,483,276

14

$84,052,683

135

24

2006

92

$162,665,959

78

$78,613,276

14

$84,052,683

144

29

2007

101

$151,670,959

82

$117,848,276

19

$33,822,683

165

27

2008

115

$151,670,959

97

$117,848,276

18

$33,822,683

171

37

Fig. 6: Numbers of and investment capital in hotel and guesthouse businesses in Siem Reap Province 1999 – 2008 (Tourism Industry Office, Siem Reap Department of Tourism 2008).

Year

Hotels

Guesthouses

No.

Change (%)

Room

Change (%)

No.

Change (%)

Room

Change (%)

1999

23

0

1005

0

31

0

273

0

2000

31

25.8

1383

27.331

70

55.71

784

65.17

2001

49

36.734

2527

45.271

100

30

1028

23.735

2002

57

16.326

3149

19.752

123

18.70

1433

28.262

2003

58

1.724

3185

1.130

128

3.90

1458

1.714

2004

70

17.142

4675

31.871

132

3.03

1584

7.954

2005

82

14.634

5721

18.283

159

16.98

2158

26.598

2006

92

10.869

6660

14.09

173

8.09

2401

10.120

2007

101

8.910

7695

13.450

183

5.464

2375

-1.09

2008

115

8.695

8932

16.086

208

12

2671

11.08

Fig. 7: Number of hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap Province (Tourism Industry Office, SR-PDoT 2008).

27However, the study also reveals that most hotels and guesthouses in SR are facing a most difficult time due to the rapid decline in the number of tourist visits to the SRAR. According to interviews with and statistics from SR-PDoT (2008), the average room occupancy rate of hotels and guesthouses in SR in the first four months of 2009 dropped 50% compared with the rate at the same period in 2008. This signifies that the operation of hotel and guesthouse accommodation in SR could not make the grade as a good performance indicator in terms of the contribution to profitability. It is, however, astonishing to see that some hotels, whose market segments are mainly from the newly emerging generating countries such as Vietnam, experienced an increase of around 19.8% of their occupancy rate in that difficult year. It is predicted that the stagnation or degeneration of the accommodation industry in SR will continue through to 2010. Less than 72 of all the hotels in SR are running properly, although not fully operationalized. Some big hotels, especially those located outside the city centre, are reported to be preparing administrative documents to terminate or suspend their operations due to bankruptcy and rapid loss of business turnover. At present, most hotels and some larger guesthouses have cut back or are planning to lay off their staff, cut staff salaries, reduce staff working hours, rotate staff duties and moderate their room rates in response not only to seasonality, but also to the effects of global economic downturn and other impediments which result in tourist decline.

28The key player in supporting and facilitating accommodation business in SR is the MoT and its provincial line department (SR-PDoT), whereas other stakeholders such as the MoC, hospitality and vocational training schools (i. e. Sala Bai, Paul Debrule, Shita Mani Institute), the Cambodia Hotel Association (CHA) the SR Angkor Hotel and Guesthouse Association (SRAHGA), and some concerned NGOs and TO & TAs are regarded as support institutions. The size of the accommodation business denotes the type of establishment and annual fee/tax payment of each operator. The results of the study point out that 96.8% of the guesthouses interviewed are micro and small enterprises (MSEs), whereas only 52.7% of the hotel respondents are considered relatively small businesses, having the size of about or less than three stars (see Fig. 8).

Type

Business Size

%

Accommodation Rating Institution

%

Type of Application for Business Registration

%

Guest-house

Small

26

Own décision

68.6

Ministry of Tourism

13.6

Médium

36

Ministry of Tourism

18.1

Ministry of Commerce

12.6

Large

2

Ministry of Commerce

7.6

SR Department of Tourism

36.6

Hotel

3 stars

19

SR Department of Tourism

2.9

SR Department of Commerce

37.2

4 stars

12

SR Department of Commerce

2.9

Total

100

5 stars

5

Fig. 8: Business size, accommodation rating and registration of selected accommodation businesses in the SRAR (Own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

29As much as 4% of the selected guesthouse establishments are much better than a considerable amount of hotels in terms of quality, facilities and services. This leads to some confusion over the categorization of tourism accommodation in SR mainly caused by the weak institutional framework of the MoT (i. e. no official rating system) and partly by the operator’s intention not to pay a higher tax or fee for their business operation. Most guesthouses and hotels (68.6%) questioned rate the size of their businesses based on their own judgment; 18.1% and 7.6% of accommodation businesses are rated by MoT and MoC, respectively (see Fig. 8).

30All the accommodation establishments are obliged to register their businesses in SR as part of the administrative requirements. The majority of the establishments interviewed accessed the SR-PDoT and SR Department of Commerce (SR-DoC) at the provincial level, and about 27% of them registered at the national level with the MoT, MoC or CDC. Quite a high proportion of guesthouses in SR are owned by SR residents, both indigenous locals and previous in-migrants who have become permanent dwellers in SR, whereas hotel businesses are family-owned (47%), meaning being run by elite business entrepreneurs from outside the region or by a few better-off SR locals residing in SR town (see Fig. 9).

Exact Kind of Business

%

Subsidiary Services Provided by Guesthouse/Hotel Business

%

Means of Business Network to Attract Tourists/Consumers

%

(Family-owned

47

None

8.1

Clients just walk in

22.5

Foreign-owned

15

Restaurant

27.7

Give commission to tour guides and taxi drivers

13.8

Local-owned

51

Travel agency and tour
operation

9.8

Give commission to sending travel agents/tour operators or transport companies

6.0

Transnational-owned

1

Transport service

20.4

Contact branch or head offices in other provinces/cities or countries

3.4

Total

100

Cafe and bar

15.7

Through business contracts with travel agents/tour operators

9.2

Guide service

6.4

Through vord-of-mouth

17.1

Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Exhibition (MICE)

7.7

Through advertisement in mass media

12.6

Internet

2.6

Through special promotion including augmented products

8.0

Disco and club

0.4

Through distribution of announcement/advertisement flyers

7.5

Spa and massage

1.3

Fig. 9: Type of accommodation business, extent of service and means of attracting tourist customers operated by tourism accommodation in the SRAR (own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

31The hotels run by foreign investors or by transnational proprietors (having Cambodian shareholders) account for 15% and 1%, respectively. The range of services being provided by the accommodation establishments interviewed was found to be homogenous and atypical. Larger establishments, such as four-to five-star hotels, offer spa and massage facilities or fitness clubs, MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference, and Exhibition) facilities, restaurants, transport services, and souvenir shops among other facilities and subsidiary services. Some three-star hotels offer spa and entertainment clubs, TO & TAs, cafés and bars, and a few other similar but low standard services to their customers. Guesthouses offer mostly budget-style rooms and some augmented services (e. g. internet, laundry, etc.) with a minimum standard and a lower range of facilities.

32Whereas a considerable amount of the establishments interviewed (9.2%), especially hotels, attract tourists or customers to buy their services through business contracts with TO & TAs inside and outside Cambodia, the commonly used strategies are commissions offered to tour guides and taxi drivers (13.8%) and advertisements in the mass media (12.6%), as shown in Fig. 9. However, most customers are walk-in customers (22.5%) and the majority of operators try to satisfy their clients with high quality services and hospitality. Word-of-mouth recommendations (17.1%) play the second most important role in promoting their businesses. The high local representation is easily explained in guesthouse operations, while national representation is clearly seen in many hotel establishments, excluding the high standard quality ones. Although the majority of tourism accommodation is local or family-run businesses, the interviewees reported that high economic profits have been gained by foreign-owned (28.3%) and transnational-owned (20.3%) businesses (see Fig. 10).

33A sign of an increasing business monopoly over hotel accommodation was also reported by 18.8% of the respondents, and this usually happens with multiple businesses (e. g. hotels, transport, tourist guides, entertainment clubs, and restaurants) run by the rich or powerful, especially by Korean investors in collaboration with Cambodian magnates. Despite the highly competitive, and sometimes deceitful, business environments in SR, most accommodation owners perceive that the key to success is to have effective strategies to increase their competitive advantages without losing a lot of turnover to their competitors or monopolizing businessmen. Three strategies are highly acknowledged by the hotel and guesthouse respondents: (1) secure high quality services with affordable prices, (2) supply of augmented products, and (3) hospitality.

34All hotel and guesthouse establishments in SR are required to pay for licences, obtained either from the SRDoT or the national MoT, for their continuing operations. The payment is usually based on the type of accommodation business and number of the rooms and services offered by each operator. As much as 83% of the respondents reported having paid annually for reactivating their licences, whereas about 17% paid monthly to the SR-PDoT. The average amount of payment ranges from USD 150 to USD 1,000.

Type of Investors Benefiting the Most from the Accommodation Business in the SR Angkor Region

%

Payment for the Licence for Business Operation

%

Local-owned business

15.2

Yes

99

Transnational-owned business

20.3

No

1

Monopolized business by the rich and powerful

18.8

Total

100

Joint venture business

8.0

Type of Payment

for the License

%

Foreign-owned business

28.3

Monthly

17

Multiple business

9.4

Annually

82

Total

100

Do not pay at all

1

Total

100

Fig. 10: Benefits received by different types of tourism accommodation and patterns of payment for licences in the SRAR (Own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

Jobs and Employment in the Accommodation Sector

35Hotels in SR, being larger establishments, have the average size of 80 – 100 rooms (a couple of them have 200 – 350 rooms) and 70 employees (the four-or five-star hotels have up to 200 – 450 staff). Guesthouses have the average size of 15 rooms and 7 – 10 employees per establishment. The results of the survey interviews illustrate that 46.4% of the interviewed accommodation establishments’ employees are local SR inhabitants, whereas staff from the nearby provinces around the Tonle Sap Great Lake (Battambang, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chnang, Banteay Meanchey, Pursat, and Kampong Cham) and other provinces account for 24.4% and 22.2%, respectively (see Fig. 11).

36Job opportunities in the accommodation industry are dispersed to eight major districts of SR province; SR town’s locals are mostly recruited (19%) followed by Pok, Kralanh, Prasat Bakong, and Dom Dek districts. Europe, Canada and Australia also supply qualified resource people to work in the accommodation industry in SR, however, the amount of foreign staff has declined to 7% of the total accommodation establishments surveyed. The study illustrates that nowadays there is a trend to reduce the numbers of foreign staff in the accommodation sector. According to the statistics of the SR-PDoT, the quantity of foreign staff working in hotels in SR has declined between 60% and 70% over the last three to five years.

Fig. 11: Place of origin of tourism staff working in the tourism industry in Siem Reap province (source: after Tourism & Leisure 2009:38, total number of sample population = 380 tourism employees in various tourism businesses).

37However, SR locals still receive limited benefits from tourism development via the accommodation sector. This point has become clearer when correlations have been used to examine differences among size categories and types of jobs. Whereas SR local inhabitants make up over three-quarters of staff in small-sized establishments, this proportion falls to about 50% and 40% for medium and large-sized establishments, respectively (see Fig. 12, distribution of staff according to gender). In addition, more than half of the staff from other provinces and almost all the foreign staff are placed into jobs at supervisory or specialized and professional skill levels. Local managers constitute a fairly large amount of specialized and managerial positions in the small scale accommodation industry, but the amount plunges significantly in medium and large scale hotel businesses. The absence of a large pool of local labour presents the lack of capabilities (knowledge, skills and experience) among local inhabitants, especially those from the remote districts, to meet the requirements of large and some medium size accommodation establishments. On the other hand, it could be said that the small-sized accommodation industry in SR provides higher rates of local participation in tourism development and benefit sharing than other size categories. Labour migration from other provinces in Cambodia also plays a vital role in fulfilling the requirements of and the increasing demand for tourism services in the accommodation sector in SR province. Although the estimate of the Cambodia Hotel Association (CHA) says that the rapid tourism growth in Cambodia might result in an urgent need of the accommodation industry to employ people for about 30,000 jobs annually, especially in the SRAR and Phnom Penh, there is still no evidence that local participation in specialized or managerial work in SR would increase. This might, on the one hand, be due to the lack of training opportunities or affordable quality hospitality skills training and education programs in SR, and the isolation of the province from national educational institutions, which are mostly located in the capital, on the other hand. Therefore, it could be unfailingly argued that tourism development in SR provides mostly low-skilled and low paid jobs to local inhabitants, although local employment is strongly linked to the size of the accommodation business and type of ownership.

Number of Staff

%

Number of Female Staff

%

Number of Male Staff

%

1 – 20

68

1 – 5

52

1 – 5

60

20 – 40

8

5 – 20

24

5 – 20

18

40 – 60

5

20 – 40

11

20 – 40

8

60 – 80

7

Over 40

13

Over 40

14

80 – 100

4

100 – 200

5

200 – 300

1

300 – 450

1

450 – 500

1

Fig. 12: Distribution of staff according to gender (own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

38Job security is another issue related to local employment in SR. It was found that accommodation labour turnover fluctuates depending on seasonality, profitability and the treatment of staff. Most employees working in the hotels and guesthouses investigated, excluding the small-sized family-owned ones, are recruited on an irregular basis (81.9%), and 13.3% of others are employed only in the peak season (see Fig. 14).

Number of Staff Based on Profession and Skill

Professional (%)

Supervisory/Specialized (%)

Low-skilled/Unskilled (%)

Frequency of Staff Selection

%

1 – 10

96.9

92.8

65.3

Irregular

81.9

10 – 20

3.1

5.1

6.2

One time per year

1.9

20 – 30

-

2.1

5.1

Two times per year

0.95

30 – 40

-

-

4.1

> Three times per years

0.95

40 – 50

-

-

1.0

Only in peak season

13.33

Over 50

-

-

18.4

Only in low season

0.95

Fig. 13: Staff employment based on profession and skill, and frequency of staff selection in the SRAR (Own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

Type of Contract for Staff Selection to Ensure Effective Staff Performance

Count

Response

(%)

No contract

60

50.8

On job probation for a couple of months

35

29.7

One year contract

15

12.7

Two year contract

2

1.7

Contract with possible change of task assignments

1

0.8

Season contract (i.e. work during low or high tourist season)

5

4.2

Fig. 14: Type of work contract in the tourism accommodation sector in the SRAR (Own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

39The system of staff recruitment in SR signifies risky and insecure job opportunities if considered from the regulatory and business standpoints. The accommodation employers interviewed are more interested in employing their staff without or with imprecise contracts (50.8%) (see Fig. 15).

Patterns of Staff Selection

Professional

(%)

Supervisory/Specialized

(%)

Low-skilled/Unskilled

(%)

Means of Staff Selection

%

Through recommendation from friends colleagues

30.6

30.9

36.1

3 lass media

7.6

Through recommendation from families relatives

38.9

27.3

33.5

Distribute among existing staff

29.3

Through formal evaluation and selection

12.2

13.9

13.5

Ask friends relatives to help identify

38

Through job promotion

10

15.2

6.8

Contact department of labour or tourism association

3.8

Through internship and practicum

2.S

3.6

0.5

Contact vocational skill providing agencies

6.5

Through job posting announcement in front of guesthouse, hotel

3.3

4.8

5.2

Post announcement in front of guesthouse hotel

9.8

Through job placement agencies

2.2

4.2

4.7

Contact job placement agencies

4.9

Fig. 15: Means of staff recruitment based on profession and skill in tourism accommodation in the SRAR (Own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

40The incumbents are usually required to work on probation for a couple of months before being accepted on a more permanent basis, as mentioned by 29.7% of the respondents. Most staff, especially the low-skilled or semi-skilled, are subject to work layoffs, reductions, rotation or salary cuts, particularly in the low season or even in the case of the slowdown of tourism business, as has been apparent recently in SR. However, social networks and trust might play a more crucial role in staff employment than those mentioned by the labour law. As trust between the employers and employees and the relationships increase, the relative jobs will also increase. A lot of employers prefer recruiting their staff, regardless of job categories, through recommendations from families or relatives (Mean = 33.2%) and from friends or colleagues (Mean = 32.5%) rather than other selection styles, such as formal evaluation (Mean = 13.2%) and job promotion (Mean = 10.6%), as indicated in Fig. 15. The favourite means of selection is to inform friends and relatives (38%), i. e. personal networks, to help identify potential staff, followed by the announcement of the jobs on offer among existing personnel (29.3%). However, the results of in-depth discussions with hotels and guesthouses interviewed demonstrate that foreign staff recruitments are usual for managerial positions, or at least specialized positions, and most of them are selected from overseas by large scale hotels and resorts (four to five star), while others are foreign expatriates who have already worked in Cambodia and obtained substantial knowledge and experience about its business environment.

41There is a set of criteria commonly applied and prioritized by accommodation employers in SR province. The priority criterion is, according to the employers interviewed, to attract strongly committed staff (93%), followed by other measures including good interpersonal and hospitality skills (89%), the ability to be creative and flexible in diverse work conditions (83%), possessing good work experience (63%), and foreign languages (56%) (see Fig. 16).

Priority Criteria for Selecting Potential Staff*

1 (%)

2 (%)

3 (%)

4 (%)

5 (%)

Foreign language

3.1

4.1

35.7

24.5

32.7

Obtain necessary skills

3.0

3.0

38.4

38.4

17.2

Be relatives, friends, or colleagues

14.1

10.1

29.3

19.2

27.3

Have solid tourism/tourism-relative knowledge

5.1

11.1

38.4

28.3

17.2

Have good work experience

5.1

5.1

26.3

37.4

26.3

Be honest and have strong commitment

2.0

0.0

4.0

17.2

76.8

Have good interpersonal and other needed hospitality skills

2.0

1.0

7.1

27.3

62.6

Be creative and flexible to diverse work conditions

3.0

2.0

11.1

26.3

57.6

* 1 = least priority, 2 = less priority, 3 = neutral/on the fence, 4 = priority, 5 = most priority.
Fig. 16: Priority characteristics for staff selection in tourism accommodation in the SRAR (Own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

  • 6 Nevertheless, these figures have to be interpreted with care. All respondents were certainly aware (...)

42Regardless of business size, 33.9% of the accommodation representatives stated that SR local inhabitants are the most targeted people to be employed to serve their operations (see Fig. 17). This preference, however, is probably related to the fact that 1) many of the employees are hired only on an irregular basis (or rather without contracts) and 2) staff selection often takes place based on criteria such as kinship and friendship. Fig. 18 can be interpreted in this direction.6

Target Employees for Selection

Count

Response (%)

[Local inhabitants of Siem Reap

58

33.9

Skilled labour in-migrants from nearby provinces

8

4.7

Skilled labour in-migrants from all over Cambodia

46

26.9

Graduates from any universities

14

8.2

Graduates from tourism-related universities/colleges in Siem Reap

8

4.7

Graduates from tourism-related universities/colleges in Phnom Penh

2

1.2

Graduates from schools providing tourism vocational skills in Siem Reap

9

5.3

Graduates from schools providing tourism vocational skills in Phnom Penh

1

0.6

Student interns

9

5.3

Former staff of other hotels/guesthouses

16

9.4

Fig. 17: Type of potential staff perceived by tourism accommodation operators in the SRAR (Own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

Level of Satisfaction with Different Types of Preferred Employees

Local Inhabitants (%)

Skilled Inmigrants (%)

Foreigners (%)

Level of Willingness to Recruit Local Inhabitants

%

Very satisfied

30.9

24.6

33.3

Strongly willing

17.5

Satisfied

68.1

73.9

55.6

Willing

60.8

Dissatisfied

1.1

1.4

11.1

Not willing

13.4

Very dissatisfied

0.0

0.0

0.0

Strongly unwilling

8.2

Fig. 18: Level of satisfaction with different types of accommodation employees in the SRAR (Own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

43Almost an equal share (Mean = 31.6%) of the employers expressed the possibility of recruiting skilled labourers from other provinces, especially those in close proximity to SR. It was interesting to learn that despite their realization of the nature of the accommodation industry, which offers more jobs at an operational or low-skilled level, the employers interviewed also wish to provide work for universities graduates rather than vocational school graduates (see Fig. 17). This is slightly paradoxical compared to the current policy of the MoT and its line department to promote institutions which provide vocational skills in order to produce practical human resources to fulfil the need of the tourism industry in Cambodia. However, unlike low-skilled or unskilled labourers, who are merely required to be honest, industrious and respectful, the professional and managerial employees are expected to be punctual and obtain solid educational backgrounds and experience together with sound hospitality, management, leadership, and communication skills. This would again shackle or reduce the chances of the majority of the local inhabitants, whose capacities are limited, to access better and more secure jobs in the accommodation industry in SR.

Tourism Accommodation and Local Development

44A large pool of both hotel and guesthouse proprietors interviewed in SR stated that they want to improve the living conditions of the local inhabitants and stimulate local economic development through local employment. According to the respondents, 70.2% reported their willingness to recruit the locals to be on their staff, and 93% of them have already had satisfaction or high contentment working with previous and current local inhabitants compared to working with in-migrants (68%) and foreign staff (8%) (see Fig. 18). The skill, knowledge and experience of the employees are fairly influential (48%) for the process of selection, since the staff recruited will also be asked to attend on-the-job training programs which are of great substance to the practical performance of the business. However, this perception only works with a majority of local-owned businesses. The foreign-owned or transnational-owned businesses consider both the quantity and quality of staff employment to ensure that their operations match the customers’ demand and the economic turnover is increased as a result of effective strategies employed by their specialized and professional staff. Poor educational backgrounds and a lack of managerial hospitality skills among SR local inhabitants make managers (professional) and supervisory or specialized staff from this province a rarity. Normally, foreign staff, in spite of the fact that their dichotomous classification is less pertinent in SR province, are recruited for the specific purposes of operating a few medium and a bulk of large scale hotel businesses. However, the pattern of foreign managerial employment in guesthouse businesses in SR is excluded since almost all the managers are also owners of the businesses, and have lived in Cambodia for a long time or have Cambodian spouses.

45Nationality, size of business, range of skills, knowledge, experience, and job categories are substantial determinants of the standard salaries in the accommodation industry in SR. Although there is no difference in terms of salaries received by local inhabitants and Cambodian in-migrants for similar positions, only a few of SR locals are working as highly skilled labourers. Cambodian labourers always receive smaller salaries than those of foreign citizens working in the accommodation industry, even if performing identical work or having equal positions at professional and supervisory levels. The monthly standard salaries for professional staff range from USD 500 to USD 1,000 for Cambodian nationals and from USD 2,000 to USD 4,000 for foreigners, and some four-or five-star hotels pay foreign professionals up to USD 10,000 or more (see Fig. 19). The monthly standard salaries for supervisory or specialized staff are between USD 200 and USD 450, whereas the semi-skilled, low-skilled or unskilled employees are paid very low wages (USD 50 – 150).

Standard of Staff Salary Based on Skill and Profession (Monthly in USD)

Professional Staff (%)

Supervisory/Specialized Staff (%)

Low-skilled/Unskilled Staff (%)

1 – 50

1.4

1.6

34.7

50 – 100

9.7

39.1

53.7

100 – 150

23.6

20.3

10.5

150 – 200

15.3

9.4

1.1

200 – 250

6.9

10.9

-

250 – 500

5.6

9.4

-

500 – 550

1.4

-

-

550 – 400

1.4

4.7

-

400 – 450

-

1.6

-

450 – 500

4-2

1.6

-

500 – 600

2.8

-

-

600 – 700

2.8

-

-

700 – 800

4.2

-

-

800 – 900

-

1.6

-

900 – 1000

9.7

-

-

1000 – 2000

8.4

-

-

3000 – 3000

1.4

-

-

3000 – 4000

1.4

-

-

Fig. 19: Standard monthly salaries of SRAR’s tourism accommodation employees based on profession and skill (Own survey with senior and junior management staff of selected hotels and guesthouses, n = 100).

46The contribution of each hotel and guesthouse to local economic development, local livelihood improvement and poverty reduction in SR can be regarded as another impact of tourism development on SR and its locals. When asked about the ways in which the accommodation industry in SR could contribute to poverty reduction among SR’s local inhabitants, a significant number of the proprietors or managers questioned said that they would rather buy local products (22.3%), offer more job opportunities to local people (21.1%), contribute to social and community development programs (19.2%), and encourage tourists or their customers to buy local products and services (15.3%) while staying at their hotels/guesthouses or in SR. This issue was further explored and it was found that the average percentages of their annual expenditure on staff salaries, on purchasing local products and for social or community development was approximately 10%-20%, 10%-20% or less, and less than 10%, respectively. However, the majority of them were not very interested in spending money on capacity building programs for their staff, although they understood that it was important for the improvement of staff performance, as well as for the maximization of their quality services and profitability.

Leakage and Linkage of Revenues

47Economic leakage in the tourism sector in Cambodia, roughly estimated by the MoT and the Ministry of Commerce (MoC 2006), reached 40% in 2006, as cited in UNCTAD (2007) and Tourism & Leisure (2009). This amount of leakage was also predicted to continue through to 2010 (MoC 2006; UNCTAD 2007; Tourism & Leisure 2009). The sources and amounts of “leakage” or “non-retention” in SR town (SRT) and SR province (SRP) comprise: (1) the continuing import of required products and services from outside SR, especially from foreign countries (SRT: 52%, SRP: 43%); (2) the remittance of wages and salaries by Cambodian in-migrants and foreign staff out of SR (SRT: 24%, SRP: 8%); (3) the remittance of gross operating surpluses out of SR (SRT: 54%, SRP: 45%); and (4) taxes and other fees or non-taxes remitted outside the designated area (ibid).

48The study shows that the amount of foreign staff working in the accommodation industry in SR is between 7% and 10%. Based on this relatively low figure, there is no significant leakage in terms of foreign staff, and there might be less or no significant level of the remittance of wages or salaries from Cambodia’s accommodation businesses to abroad. There is, however, a sign of ongoing leakage from SRP to other provinces in Cambodia, which is normally committed by Cambodian staff in the accommodation sector and the tourism industry in SR who come from other provinces. The amount of Cambodian in-migrants working in hotels and guesthouses in SR accounted for approximately 30% to 40% in 2008. Therefore, some wages or salaries of this type of accommodation labourer might flow out of SR to their homelands on both a monthly and annual basis. Nevertheless, the level might appear to be relatively modest since they also use the greater part of their earnings for daily survival in SR, whereas others have become permanent local residents following their long stays and marriages. Some of them have also used their earnings or savings to invest in some micro and small scale enterprises in Cambodia, which indeed signifies opportunities for the creation of more jobs and economic stimuli within the SRAR.

49The insufficient supply of quality goods and services, especially to an international standard, by local production or industry in SR in response to the increasing demand from the tourism industry has triggered a constant flow of a substantial amount of tourism revenue out of SR and Cambodia. It was reported that agricultural products (meats, vegetables, flowers, etc.) and industrial products (drinks, construction and decoration materials, etc.) are generally imported from abroad, especially from neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam, to supply the local markets and urgent requirements of the tourism industry in SR. Hopefully, this leakage will be transformed into an opportunity for producing a sound resilience and healthy growth of local industries to revitalize and accelerate their production to address the demand from the tourism industry, particularly the accommodation businesses, in SR. Local suppliers will have time during the current diminution in tourism demand caused by the decline in tourist visits to SR to invest in the development and diversification of tourism goods and services that meet the demand, in terms of both quantity and quality, of the tourism industry. In addition, the state and local governments could work more effectively on improving public and infrastructural services to facilitate tourism businesses, while at the same time promoting sustainable tourism in SR.

50It would be especially worrisome if foreign investment in the accommodation industry continued to produce leakage from the gross operating surpluses which are being remitted outside SR. As mentioned earlier, the foreign stakes in the tourism accommodation sector in SR in hotel and guesthouse businesses are 19.4% and 16.74%, respectively. It might be argued that some or most of the tourism profits from this sector should be repatriated to the foreign owners’ countries. In order to reduce foreign exchange leakage and the repatriation of tourism earnings, the SR local government and the RGC need to provide additional opportunities for capital investment in Cambodia. In addition, the promotion of local ownership and employment in the accommodation industry needs to be carried out in a timely and sustainable manner, especially through effective and adaptive policies and regulations on the management of foreign-monopolized or corporate foreign-owned establishments in SR.

Conclusion and Recommendations

51Siem Reap, which is the foremost region in terms of the tourism economy and which has received the largest number of international tourist visits in Cambodia, is moving forward to promote all its possible assets, including the Angkor Wat Heritage Site, to enhance economic growth through sustainable tourism businesses. However, it has always been doubtful whether tourism developers and academics can grasp how socially and economically responsible the current tourism development process is for the improvement of the living conditions of the local people. This study, therefore, takes into account several issues with regard to the in-destination revenue through the tourist accommodation sector and tourism’s contribution to poverty reduction and cultural heritage conservation.

52Tourism is one of the most important service industries and has played a crucial role in stimulating Cambodia’s GDP, as well as the local economy of SR province. The SR accommodation industry, as a major element of tourism, has enlightened a variety of local small and medium scale enterprises and has granted great opportunities, particularly in the form of tourism employment, for both local inhabitants and Cambodian in-migrants. As a result, this industry has contributed significantly to the enhancement and diversification of local livelihoods. However, while tourism accommodation in SR has usually been regarded to have provided much economic benefit, income distribution is certainly remaining unequal between the rural and urban areas, between the rich and the poor and between local/national-owned and foreign-owned businesses. In addition, dissimilarities of the type and size of the accommodation businesses and ownership patterns indicate substantial differences in the nature of the tourism effects on tourism employment and remuneration. Foreign-owned accommodation establishments, mostly with high quality international standards, seem to receive more benefits than the local or family-owned establishments. Although the majority of the accommodation industry in SR involves local or national ownership and is small or medium scale, the economic turnover is somehow leaked to foreign owners who sometimes end up by repatriating their earnings. Family-owned properties contain a large proportion of staff who are family or relatives, while other small-scale and medium-scale establishments employ more local staff. The large hotels, usually with four or five stars, recruit a wide range of staff from different educational and geographical backgrounds and usually contain small proportions of SR locals in employment, especially in highly skilled positions. The study reveals that the majority of the labourers in the tourist accommodation sector in SR are local inhabitants, but they most often work in low-skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled positions and their work is low paid and seasonal. Their jobs present great problems in terms of security, work input and prosperity. Inadequate and poor training opportunities, limited educational backgrounds and hospitality skills, cultural perspectives and attitudes, social capital (i. e. networking, communication and trust) and absence of labour policy intervention have limited regular and managerial employment opportunities for local SR inhabitants mostly to small and medium-sized establishments.

Fig. 20: Khmer food restaurants are visited by tourists from all over the world (2011).

53Opening up SR’s local economy through the tourist accommodation businesses, especially those being operated by international investors and the Cambodian elite from SR town and outside SR, has resulted in many foreigners and Cambodian skilled in-migrants being employed in professional and managerial or specialized/supervisory positions. Furthermore, it has allowed some foreign investors and a few Cambodian magnates, particularly those who run joint ventures and corporate businesses, to dominate the accommodation businesses because they have partners who send customers from overseas. The study also discovered that SR province still benefits poorly from the current development process, especially from the different main sources of revenue generation such as the collection of the entrance fees to Angkor Park. Apart from this, it suffers from the leakage of tourism economic turnover, since the tourism industry is extensively dependent on external supplies and does not have a high volume of local ownership in large scale businesses.

54To help make the tourism industry, especially the accommodation sector, become more economically beneficial and more socially responsible, a range of effective mechanisms and interventions should be taken into account. Firstly, Cambodia’s immigration and business laws should be strengthened in order to confine the investment shares and employment rates of foreigners and elitist business monopolies (foreign and national) in SR. Secondly, the RGC and the MoT and its line departments should create and maintain a good tourism business environment which should focus more on career promotion opportunities for the locals, as well as other poor and vulnerable Cambodians. Accommodation, as well as other medium and large scale tourism-related enterprises, should be required to follow the principles of corporate social responsibilities and invest more in producing local managers for executive positions. By doing so, the tourism accommodation or the tourism industry as a whole could help to increase the amounts of salaries and the number of career promotion opportunities for local inhabitants. Thirdly, following the analysis of work markets in the tourism industry in SR, the state and local governments, in close collaboration with all stakeholders concerned, should provide more training and educational opportunities for SR locals to enhance their skills, knowledge and experience. Different levels of tourism education – operational, specialized and managerial – should be appropriately focused, and theoretical learning should be applied with practical experience for local students or trainers before assuming their positions. Fourthly, the RGC and other related state actors should create more alternative opportunities for local and foreign capital investment in order to reduce the repatriation of foreign exchange earnings, while at the same time diversifying local economies in the area. Next, the government and the MoT should invest more in the improvement of infrastructural and superstructural services and facilities to support and promote tourism development in SR. Finally, the government should intervene politically to provide a sufficient share of the revenue collected from the entrance fees to SR’s local government in order to fund the issue-specific purposes of development and conservation.

Notes

1 Cited in Kontogeorgopoulos (1998), Lea (1988) mentioned that there are three types of tourism employment: (1) direct employment, which refers to direct occupations in the tourism sector including employment in tourism accommodation, shops, restaurants, night clubs, bars, state tourism administration, transport and tour firms; (2) indirect employment, which refers to other sectors of the tourism economy providing products, goods and other items or materials dependent upon increased tourism demand; and (3) induced employment, which involves tourist expenditure and other spending and circulation of local tourism income within the local economy.

2 Though the interviews followed standardized and structured questionnaires, the researcher managed to have a short informal discussion with every informant. This provides a better understanding about their employment principles and categories, motivation towards and perceptions of recruiting SR’s local inhabitants as employees, employees’turnover (earnings), economic leakage via the accommodation sector, and the roles of the Angkor World Heritage Site via tourism accommodation for poverty alleviation in the SRAR.

3 Results of the expert interviews with SR’s Departments of Tourism and Planning and the APSARA Authority.

4 Results of the expert interviews with SR’s Department of Labour and Vocational Training.

5 Fees are collected from selling tickets to international tourists to visit the Angkor Park and its adjoining areas. Each tourist, except invited guests or the RGC’s special guests, is supposed to pay USD 20 for a day visit, USD 40 for a three-day visit, or USD 60 for a six-day visit.

6 Nevertheless, these figures have to be interpreted with care. All respondents were certainly aware of the researcher’s opinion that local people should have priority in the selection of staff. They probably reacted to his expectations by (over-) emphasizing their preference for local staff and their performance.

Table des illustrations

Légende Fig. 3: Components of tourism expenditure in Siem Reap in 2007 (source: after Tourism & Leisure 2009:32).
URL http://books.openedition.org/gup/docannexe/image/313/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 108k
Légende Fig. 5: New hotel with a roof in the form of a Buddhist monastery (pagoda) (2011).
URL http://books.openedition.org/gup/docannexe/image/313/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 256k
Légende Fig. 11: Place of origin of tourism staff working in the tourism industry in Siem Reap province (source: after Tourism & Leisure 2009:38, total number of sample population = 380 tourism employees in various tourism businesses).
URL http://books.openedition.org/gup/docannexe/image/313/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 88k
Légende Fig. 20: Khmer food restaurants are visited by tourists from all over the world (2011).
URL http://books.openedition.org/gup/docannexe/image/313/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 302k

Auteur

© Göttingen University Press, 2011

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Lire

Open access