The government has decided to relocate the venue for the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) 2022, which was originally scheduled to take place in Phnom Penh on January 16-22, to Sihanoukville, according to a letter from the Council of Ministers.
The letter, signed by the Council’s permanent secretary of state Hing Thoraksy on July 8, said the relocation was approved following a request from Minister of Tourism Thong Khon on June 22 and in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the letter, ATF 2022 will include a number of key events such as the Meeting of ASEAN National Tourism Organisations (NTO), ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ Meeting and the Travel Exchange (Travex) trade fair.
The event is expected to bring 2,000 participants from more than 25 countries, as well as tourism ministers and leaders, and national and international investors.
Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Tourism director Taing Sochet Kresna told The Post that his department, the Ministry of Tourism and other relevant authorities were all set to host the event.
"The authorities have been working on some infrastructure and safety management to prepare for this event. We’ll conduct meetings with the Ministry of Tourism and relevant institutions in the near future," he said.
He underlined Preah Sihanouk’s and its capital Sihanoukville’s rich tourism and economic potential, saying robust infrastructure, public order and safety, and exemplary hotel standards and services reflect their suitability as hosts for international events, such as the ATF.
He contended that an event of its scale will only serve to spotlight the strengths of the province in the realms of politics, public order and safety, as well as the progress made by a varied tapestry of development projects.
“We can also further promote a clearer understanding of the economy and tourism in Cambodia to the international community,” Sochet Kresna said.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin suggested the event be treated as an opportunity to highlight the untapped potential of the Kingdom’s tourism sector on the international stage.
"We are ready to receive tourists from around the world," she said.
ATF 2021 was originally scheduled to be held from January 17-23 this year in the capital, but was put off due to the pandemic.
First established in 1981, the ATF is a major event organised by ASEAN member states aimed at promoting tourism cooperation and make the ASEAN region an attractive single tourist destination.