Minister of Tourism Thong Khon on August 16 reported that the number of domestic and international visitors to Siem Reap in the first seven months of 2022 was a bit behind track, at 54.54 per cent of the expected full-year total, as his ministry explores special travel offerings for the northwestern province and pushes to level up the hospitality scene as well as train and upskill workers.

There were 1,242,854 visitors to the province in the January-July period, he noted, adding that the 2,278,854 travellers anticipated this year would mark a 326.75 per cent rise over 534,005 in 2021.

The tallies of domestic travellers (including foreign residents) and international visitors to Siem Reap are expected to reach 2,039,000 and 239,854 this year, respectively, up by 291.26 per cent and 1,763.23 per cent over 2021, he added.

In a bid to encourage repeat travel to the culturally rich province, Khon said, the tourism ministry has discussed special travel packages and similar offers with relevant ministries, institutions and the private sector.

The minister also called for greater attention to human resources in the tourism sector, and has assigned a working group at the ministry to inspect and assess quality, hospitality and service, as well as provide additional capacity building training for workers in Siem Reap.

On October 20, the government launched the Siem Reap Tourism Development Master Plan 2021-2035 in an effort to increase the tourism allure of the province, at a virtual ceremony presided over by Ministry of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth.

The minister told the event that the plan would be a key tool driving the tourism industry in Siem Reap province, and the Kingdom, towards continual improvements in terms of quality, safety and sustainability, and undergirding a recovery in economic growth, during and after Covid-19.

According to the tourism ministry, through the strategies put forth by the master plan and supplementary instruments, Siem Reap could attract 10.9 million domestic tourists by 2023 and 7.5 million international tourists by 2025, creating 940,000 jobs and generating an additional $6 billion in revenue for the province’s economy.