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Ad spending sees hike in budget for tourism

The Cambodian government has budgeted $3.5 million for tourism-related advertising and promotions in 2014, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said yesterday.

“This year the budget has reached $3.5 million dollars, half of the total budget for the ministry as we will host PATA Travel Mart 2014,” he said, referring to September’s three-day tourism trade fair organised by the Pacific Asian Tourism Association.

Khon said $800,000 will be spent on broadcasting advertisements on US-based global television network CNN. The remaining funds will be spent on public events and tourism related exhibitions inside and outside of the country.

“It used to cost us only $700,000, but this year CNN request a $100,000 raise. We still have the spot broadcasted as it is a very important tool to attract tourists,” he said.

Cambodia began broadcasting tourism advertisements on CNN in 2011. The Tourism Ministry’s annual spending has increased 10 per cent every year since the advertising began, Khon said.

Ho Vandy, co-chair of the Government-Private Sector Working Group on Tourism, welcomed the increased spending.

“I think the budget is very small. We need more money to advertise, to boost the tourism sector. At the same time, however, the money has to be used in a transparent way too,” he said.

Vandy added that private -ector tourism firms alone spend upwards of $2 million every year on promoting Cambodia.

Thourn Sinan, chairman of the PATA Cambodia chapter, said Cambodia was still behind neighbouring countries in tourism advertising campaigns.

“The budget is very small compared to other countries in the region such as Thailand and Malaysia where their adverts target specific countries not just globally,” he said.

“We should target countries such as China and India directly,” he added Sinan said Cambodia should start using social media, which is a much cheaper and effective means of advertising.

Last year, Cambodia attracted 4.2 million foreign tourists, generating more than $2.5 billion for the tourism sector.

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