MoT, SME Bank launch financial scheme to help tour operators in SR

MoT, SME Bank launch financial scheme to help tour operators in SR

The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) in collaboration with the Small and Medium Enterprise Bank of Cambodia (SME Bank) early this week launched financial schemes aimed at providing tourism business owners to develop or expand their operations in Siem Reap province.

The launch of the ‘Tourism Financing Scheme for Siem Reap – TFSS’ was focused on restoring and attracting foreign tourists by providing special loan conditions to small and medium enterprises, contributing to the implementation of the 19th Government–Private Sector Forum (19th GPSF) which was held in Phnom Penh on November 13, last year.

Based on the MoT announcement, the financial programmes will accelerate the successful and expeditious implementation of policy measures to provide financing to tour operators in the second-largest cities in the Kingdom.

The ministry encouraged all tourism owners and operators who lack an investment budget to develop or expand their businesses in Siem Reap province to seek direct loans from the SME Bank, allowing from $200,000 to $600,000 for a maximum duration of eight years.

The loan notes are provided in both Khmer riel and the United States dollar currency without extra charge on loan document preparation. The direct loan comes with a preliminary payment period of up to 24 months or two years especially since it has no penalty for early repayment as well.

According to the SME Bank of Cambodia, they have introduced and implemented the TFSS programmes with an annual interest rate of 6.5 percent. This scheme offers favourable conditions for enterprise owners in the tourism sector to access finance for business improvement, modernization, expansion, and diversification of their tourism services.

Separately on March 27, Credit Bureau Cambodia (CBC) and Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) – led by Chhay Sivlin, President of CATA – joined hands to organize a workshop theme ‘The Role of Credit Reporting Tourism SMEs held in Siem Reap province.

The meeting brought together around 100 SMEs with the aim of broadening their understanding of credit reporting, financial health tools and credit assessment knowledge to boost access to credit for tourism SMEs to finance their growth.

During the workshop, SME owners had a chance to review their credit reports via the CBC Mobile Application and understand more about their consumer rights in terms of personal and commercial requests for the credit report.

Speaking to Khmer Times, Sivlin said, “Since the 19th GPSF, the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has provided a budget of $50 million to support the restoration of the tourism sector across the county but by now, there are only about three enterprises that have received direct loan from this initiative.”

She emphasised that the struggle for SMEs to access credit lies in their lack of documents, receipts and other budget flow records which are required by the financial institution to approve loans based on their business size and potentiality. khmertimeskh

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