Cambodia plans to attract about three million domestic and international tourists annually to the regional verdant biodiverse powerhouse that is Mondulkiri province by 2035.
This and many more ambitions were outlined in the draft Mondulkiri Tourism Development Master Plan 2021-2035, drawn up by the National Committee for Tourism Development (NCTD) to promote the province, nestled in the Kingdom’s northeast corridor.
The master plan was presented at a June 28 virtual meeting, chaired by NCTD chairman and Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth, to review and discuss.
The meeting was also attended by Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism and Inter-Ministerial Commission for Master Planning chairman.
According to a press release issued on June 29, the master plan aims to transform Mondulkiri into a top-notch tourist destination with a high level of economic intelligence and innovation that features the concept of “conservation for development and development support conservation”.
The master plan sets out the key vision of developing Mondulkiri into an international eco-tourism destination and an important source of agricultural products, such as flowers, vegetables and fruits to meet domestic demand and reach overseas markets.
The target by 2035 is to welcome two million and 900,000 domestic and international tourists, respectively, creating 80,000 jobs, generating $500 million in direct income and far more in indirect income, and spurring the provincial and national economies.
“The master plan will contribute to the northeastern region with Mondulkiri province as the core of the fourth economic pole – after Phnom Penh, the coastal region and Siem Reap – and integrate Mondulkiri more into the rest of the country and region,” read the release.
“The master plan will also contribute to maintaining the balance of economic development, tourism and cross-sectoral support with the conservation of natural resources, indigenous cultural heritage, ensuring the maximum fruits of socio-economic development based on the principle of shared benefits and equity among stakeholders,” it added.
Mondulkiri provincial Department of Tourism director Ngin Vimean told The Post that the master plan would provide a shot in the arm for the province’s tourism sector, which he noted had booked remarkable gains over recent years.
“In addition to tourism, other industries will also grow because tourism invariably relies on other sectors such as electricity, infrastructure, roads, agriculture and transportation,” he said.
Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan welcomed the wave of projects that would materialise in the province with the “clear” master plan in effect.
He called for the plan to be promptly put forward to effectively guide Mondulkiri’s transformation, cautioning that unchecked development could potentially threaten the province’s unique identity.
“We really need to have a master plan for the right developments, in the right direction.
“It’d be better to implement it as soon as possible because Mondulkiri is at risk of [losing its] identity, which is silently being destroyed as areas along the main tourist circuit are traded, subdivided and have concrete houses developed on them, which is not the identity of Mondulkiri.
“We are not against development, but it must be targeted and maintain the identity of the province. That is the right thing to do,” Sinan said.