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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Investors urged to explore 'rich' tourism potential of R'kiri, coast

Investors urged to explore 'rich' tourism potential of R'kiri, coast

Tourism minister encourages investors to build luxury hotels in the

provinces and market Cambodia as a leading destination for ecotourism

INVESTORS should take advantage of the vast growth potential of Cambodia's northeastern and coastal provinces and tap into the Kingdom's growing ecotourism market by building more luxury hotels.

"We hope that more local and international visitors will travel to these ecotourism areas in the coming year," said Tourism Minister Thong Khon on Wednesday.

Tourism officials hope that quality hotels in rural provinces will appeal to foreign and local tourists looking to explore Cambodia's rich natural environment.

"Cambodia is rich in diversity and possesses unique national treasures, such as the Mekong River and the largest mangrove forests in Southeast Asia, covering more than 500,000 hectares," Thong Khon said at the official launch of a new tourism campaign dubbed "Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder".

Cambodia currently has about 350 hotels with an estimated 20,000 rooms, according to Ministry of Tourism reports, which also state the tourism industry generates about 300,000 jobs nationwide.

Ecotourism destination

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents President Ho Vandy said new investment in rural areas could help brand Cambodia as a major ecotourism destination, while also creating much-needed employment opportunities in the provinces. He added that  investors should begin with modest accommodations rather than luxury hotels.

"We currently need only guesthouses, camping sites and small resorts in those areas, not four- and five-star hotels," he said.

He added that it would take time to determine whether ecotourism could provide sustainable growth in local and international tourism.

"These areas will need luxury hotels in the next three to five years as the political situation remains stable and the global economy recovers," he said.

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