Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - More tourism awards a boon for the sector

More tourism awards a boon for the sector

Tourists walk through the grounds of the Angkor Wat archaeological complex in Siem Reap.
Tourists walk through the grounds of the Angkor Wat archaeological complex in Siem Reap. Vireak Mai

More tourism awards a boon for the sector

Cambodia has been successful in transforming its image in the eyes of the world from a country of war and tragedy to one of spectacular cultural treasures and natural beauty, which has helped it create a thriving tourism industry, Prime Minister Hun Sen said yesterday.

“Cambodia was previously famous for war and conflict, but now it is renowned for its cultural [heritage] and eco-tourism,” he said.

Tourism numbers and a bevy of accolades would appear to support the prime minister’s observation, which was made during the presentation ceremony in Phnom Penh for the Kingdom’s latest international distinction: “World’s Best Tourist Destination for 2016.”

The Bucharest-based European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) bestowed the prestigious title on Cambodia last week on account of its rich cultural and historical legacy and outstanding natural beauty, as well as its safety track record. The Kingdom beat out 29 other competing countries to clinch the top billing.

The ECTT also named Cambodia as “Favourite Cultural Destination in 2016.”

Addressing the ceremony, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said tourism is enjoying healthy growth, with 4.8 million tourists visiting the Kingdom last year, 6.1 per cent more than in 2014, generating over $3 billion in revenue while providing direct employment for more than 620,000 people. The minister projected that tourism would grow to 7 million visitors per year by 2020, generating $5 billion and providing more than a million jobs.

Khon said international acclaim was good for business. He noted that countries that previously won ECTT’s annual tourism awards went on to experience significant increases in inbound European tourists.

“Cambodian tourism will help develop the country,” he said. “More European tourists will visit Cambodia, which pushes socio-economic development in a sustainable manner.”

Cambodia has received a number of other international tourism awards and distinctions over the past year.

In March, travel planning website TripAdvisor ranked Siem Reap – gateway to Angkor Wat – as the top destination in Asia and fifth best travel destination worldwide in its annual Traveller’s Choice Destination awards.

Last year, Cambodia clinched the title of “Best Culture & Heritage Tour Destination” among 36 countries participating in the annual World Travel Fairs (WTF) awards. Angkor Wat bagged the award for “Asia’s Leading Tourist Attraction.”

RECOMMENDED STORIES

  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all