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Kingdom crowned world's top tourism spot

Tourists walk through the grounds of Angkor Wat last year.
Tourists walk through the grounds of Angkor Wat last year. Vireak Mai

Kingdom crowned world's top tourism spot

The European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) named Cambodia as the “World’s Best Tourism Destination” for 2016 at its annual general assembly this week, marking the first time the country has received the prestigious award.

The Kingdom was selected from a field of 30 countries that entered the annual tourism award competition, taking top spot on account of its “rich cultural and historical legacy” and natural beauty.

Special mention was made of its well-preserved antiquities, including the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear temple. It also received praise for its 23 protected areas, which “[give] tourists access to outstanding and pristine nature”.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Pavel Avramoiu, ECTT’s director for hotel management and evaluation, highlighted Cambodia’s potential for tourism development.

“Cambodia, now proclaimed World’s Best Tourism Destination, must transform this perfect opportunity and universal limelight into a base for attracting investors in the field of hotels and hospitality to cater for the millions that will find their ways to the Kingdom of Wonder and Land of Magic,” he said.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said yesterday that he hopes that the travel award will in turn attract more international tourists to Cambodia.

“This is a fair evaluation of Cambodia,” he said. “However, to attract more international tourists, all Cambodian ambassadors should celebrate the award in media publications that will deliver the information to tourists.”

The Bucharest-based ECTT counts 28 European countries as members. Last year’s award went to Ethiopia.

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