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New travel app praised by tourism sector, ministry

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Tourists have their photo taken in front of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap in 2014. Hong Menea

New travel app praised by tourism sector, ministry

The Kingdom’s software development sector is being seen as an increasingly important player in the country’s move to strengthen its tourism industry and provide visitors with the latest conveniences.

Stephane Combre, a developer at To Do in Cambodia, said that the firm’s platform, launched in March, implements many of the features that local business owners want to provide for their foreign customers.

“The goal is to be transformative so that more Cambodian businesses can directly benefit from the influx of tourists and visitors to Cambodia,” he said, noting that the model will distinguish Cambodia regionally and globally.

Cambodia has a unique opportunity to create a hospitality industry that reflects the ethos of sharing the Cambodian culture, and having software, he said, helps to reduce brochures and posters which are ineffective, as most tourists search for information online.

“Software allows hotel management to easily gauge what activities guests are interested in . . . this allows for greater efficiency in planning and selecting partnerships for each individual hotel,” he said adding that his firm’s software is free for hotels and charges $50 for restaurants, shops and transportation services to list on the platform. Currently almost 100 hotels are using the interface alongside 70 paying businesses.

The Ministry of Tourism welcomed the software platform as a good model to promote innovation in the tourism sector, according to Chhay Khunlong, a deputy general director at the ministry.

“This is what we are looking for. An app or software is a good player to promote tourism and is a good facility for tourists in Cambodia,” Khunlong said.

There were 5.6 million international visitors to Cambodia last year, which was 11.8 percent more than the year before, according to the Ministry of Tourism figures. Revenue from tourism hit $4 billion in 2017, an increase of 13.3 percent from the same period in 2016.

Last year there were 781 hotels operating in the Kingdom along with 2,255 guesthouses, 33,727 restaurants and 619 travel agencies.

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