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Clean cities promoted through competition

The government wants to beautify Cambodian cities and has launched a competition to encourage the country’s urban centres to clean up their act.

Speaking in front of a crowd of roughly 700 at the Peace Palace yesterday, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said that the “Clean City Contest” would evaluate cities on the basis of cleanliness, waste management, urban planning and public health and safety.

“I hope that all candidates will participate in the contest and take responsibility so that we can assess all the Kingdom’s cities to ensure that they will attract tourists throughout the region and globe,” Thong Khon said.

Applications will be accepted between April 1 and June 30, with winners announced some time in September or October.

The friendly competition marks the first time the Kingdom has undertaken such an endeavor, Thong Khon said, adding he hoped it would make cities more attractive and thus boost tourism.

Prime Minister Hun Sen, who presided over yesterday’s launching ceremony, set a goal that each city dedicate at least 20 per cent of its area to green space.

Tek Vannara, program manager of local NGO Culture and Environment Preservation Asso­ciation, said that in addition to attracting tourists, such greenery also promoted healthy living habits.

Cambodia received more than 2.8 million international tourists last year – a 15 per cent increase over 2010’s mark – injecting nearly US$2 billion into the country’s economy, Thong Khon said.

He estimated that the number of tourists visiting Cambodia would grow to roughly 3.2 million this year and 4.5 million by 2015. By 2020, he predicted, total income generated  by tourism would reach US$5 billion.

In another bid to refine urban aesthetics, Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday warned restaurants that ignored a ban on grilling cows in the street that they would be shutdown.

On January 10 the Council of Ministers ordered restaurants to stop the popular practice of displaying butchered bovines on rotisseries in public view.

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