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Government to label attractions ‘Supreme Tourism Sites’

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Tourists swim at one of the waterfalls in Chhay Areng Valley, Koh Kong Province. Pha Lina

Government to label attractions ‘Supreme Tourism Sites’

The government is pushing for the development and investment into special tourism sites as it will contribute to the Kingdom’s economic development, a Sub-decree designating “Supreme Tourism Sites” said.

Industry insiders welcomed the sub-decree, saying it would help the Kingdom diversify its tourist attractions with effective management and control to attract more visitors.

The sub-decree, which was signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Thursday, is aiming to develop tourism products, attract more local and international visitors and boost development in the tourism sector to advance the country’s economic growth.

According to the sub-decree, potential sites, which are to be determined by the government, must consist of all services such as food and drinks, accommodation, rest and recreation facilities, sports centres, tourism health-care centres and others related services.

Request permission

Individuals who intend to create a Supreme Tourism Site must request permission from the tourism committee, which is in charge of project examination and valuation before it is submitted, the sub-decree said. The area of the proposed site must be at least 100ha and have a clear master plan.

Ministry of Tourism spokesman Chuk Chumno told The Post on Sunday that the sub-decree was initiated by the ministry to diversify tourist attractions. He said it would help the tourism committee to examine and designate some potential areas as “Supreme Tourism Sites” in the future.

“[It] will help in creating and using new tourism products in Cambodia,” he said.

Chumno said potential sites for supreme tourism development currently include areas in Siem Reap province, around the Tonle Sap Lake, in Chhay Areng Valley, in Chi Phat commune, along coastal areas and in the northeast.

“Supreme Tourism Sites” will be similar to Special Economic Zones, but focus only on the tourism sector, he said.

‘Government encouragement’

He said those who invest in supreme tourism areas will receive government encouragement, which will encourage state-private sector partnerships to develop the potential areas.

“All these developments need collaboration between the state and private sectors to preserve the beautiful environments,” he said.

Pacific Asia Travel Association president Thourn Sinan said the government’s decision was a good thing because it would boost the number of Cambodia’s attractions for holidays.

“It is very good to have a law to designate this type of development because it can help prevent disorderly infrastructure and other negative practices which are happening in some tourism areas,” he said.

“Cambodia has to prepare its laws well to properly manage its tourism areas,” he said.

Establishing new laws or sub-decrees will strengthen the regional authority and avoid anarchy.

According to the 2018 data from the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia received more than 6.2 million international tourists – up 10.7 per cent from 2017. The Kingdom earned more than $4.3 billion in revenue.

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