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Tourism Ministry links with Oz university

THE Ministry of Tourism will receive assistance from Australia’s University of the Sunshine Coast to improve education standards and sustainable planning for the domestic tourism industry.

The two parties signed a memorandum of understanding at the public university in the state of Queensland earlier this week.

The deal will see Cambodia benefit from the University of the Sunshine Coast’s expertise specifically in eco-tourism planning, as well as training tourism professionals, according to ministry Chief of Cabinet Kong Solyda.

“The agreement has the potential to strengthen and improve professional skills of employees in the tourism sector in order to attract more local and international tourists,” he said yesterday.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon was quoted as saying the partnership would be a key element in the Kingdom’s plan to build sustainable tourism.

“So far our government has made a lot of effort to protect and preserve our natural and cultural assets, but we need more experience,” he said at the event signing on Tuesday, according to a report from the Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper.

“That’s why we called for the assistance of the international community, especially the Australian government and USC, to support us on this matter.”

Bill Carter, a professor at the university, located around 100 kilometres north of Brisbane, said it would also benefit from the partnership by opening up research and business opportunities, and by creating a student-exchange programme between the two countries.

Australia was the ninth-largest source of visitors to the Kingdom over the first eight months of 2010, with 61,627 visitors arriving from down under, according to statistics from the Ministry of Tourism.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Tourism deputy director general Neb Samuoth said that Cambodia hoped to be included in a group called the “Most Beautiful Bay in the World Club”. He said the club’s director would be paying a visit to the Kingdom’s coastal regions from October 30 to November 5.

Cambodia’s “K4” coastal areas of Kampot, Kep, Koh Kong, and Kampong Som, or Sihanoukville, were all up for consideration, he said.

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