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Initiatives to lift VN tourism co-op

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Tourists visit Angkor Wat temple before the Covid-19 pandemic. Heng Chivoan

Initiatives to lift VN tourism co-op

The Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) on July 20 reaffirmed its commitment to work with Cambodia and promote tourism between the two countries.

This came at a meeting between Ministry of Tourism undersecretary of state Thok Sokhom and Ha Van Sieu, vice-chairman of the VNAT, which is under Vietnam’s Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. The meeting was held on the occasion of the latest “Cambodian Tourism Roadshow” held in Vietnam’s Can Tho city from July 18-22.

The ministry said in a statement on July 22 that Vietnam had expressed its readiness to participate in the Sea Festival, Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and ASEAN Para Games in 2023, as well as the Asian Youth Games in 2029, all of which will be hosted by Cambodia.

Cambodia and Vietnam this year celebrate their 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations – established on June 24, 1967.

The officials at the meeting said that they will work together to promote tourism at the World Travel Market London, to be held from November 7-9 in the UK.

VNAT’s Sieu also sought Cambodia’s support for Vietnam joining the “Cambodian Tourism Roadshow” in Phnom Penh in October.

They also agreed to spread the word about the easing of travel restrictions in Cambodia and Vietnam related to Covid-19 measures to make visitors feel more at ease. Among the loosened measures is the removal of quarantines for unvaccinated arrivals who are now only required to take a rapid test.

For Cambodia, fully vaccinated travellers need just show their vaccination cards and then they can travel wherever they’d like in the country.

They also discussed the procedures of cross-border self-driving tours from either side of the frontier, in an effort to increase the flow of tourism. Both countries are currently constructing hard and soft infrastructure in the southwestern region of Cambodia to connect Cambodia’s provinces of Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep to Vietnam’s Kien Giang province and Can Tho city, according to the ministry.

Both sides committed to promoting cooperation on travel connections by air, land and waterways. They also agreed to ease travel through border crossings and permit longer visa stays for Cambodian people who go to Vietnam for medical treatment.

The ministry said Cambodia will attend the International Travel Expo (ITE HCMC) 2022 in Ho Chi Minh City from September 6-11. A “Cambodia Night” is planned for the expo and will be hosted at the REX Hotel on September 8.

The Kingdom’s officials will also attend the Mekong Tourism Forum (MTF) from October 11-14 in the Vietnamese city of Hoi An, the ministry said.

Speaking to The Post, Sokhom said Vietnamese tourism officials and business players are keenly interested in the Kingdom’s tourism potential as well as the “Cambodian Tourism Roadshow”, and many of them have voiced intent to invest in the sector, and others such as coffee and seafood processing.

He also voiced confidence that ITE HCMC 2022, “Cambodia Night”, and MTF would be great occasions to convince more Vietnamese holidaymakers to embark on trips to neighbouring Cambodia.

Similarly, Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy lauded the “Cambodian Tourism Roadshow” as an opportunity to show off the Kingdom’s new tourism products.

Vandy commented that Vietnam is expected to dial back Covid restrictions to Cambodia’s level in due course, which he affirmed would lead to an uptick in tourism growth from the neighbouring country. He noted that Vietnam was ranked as Cambodia’s second biggest tourism source market prior to Covid-19.

According to the tourism ministry, the two countries, along with Thailand, have also launched the Cambodia-Vietnam-Thailand Economic Corridor (CVTEC), which encourages the movement of tourists between the three countries.

The provinces and cities involved in the CVTEC include Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat provinces in Thailand; Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep provinces in Cambodia; and Kien Giang province and Can Tho city in Vietnam.

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