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Tourism board mulling fresh tourism strategy

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Girls ferry three female Korean tourists along the Tonle Sap river as they take photos of the surrounding mangrove forests. LEE SANG-PIL/INCHEON ILBO

Tourism board mulling fresh tourism strategy

Cambodia Tourism Marketing and Promotion Board, a joint institution between the government and the private sector, is studying a new strategy to attract more foreign visitors to the Kingdom, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said.

Khon, who is also president of the Cambodia Tourism Marketing and Promotion Board, said in a meeting on Tuesday that creating new strategies to attract foreign tourists to Cambodia is necessary.

He said visa exemption for international tourists is one of the proposals that would be submitted to the government as a key point in increasing the Kingdom’s attractiveness.

However, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak said visa exemption is currently in the planning stages. He said the Cambodia Tourist Marketing and Promotion Board is considering special provisions of visa exemptions for key guests or for those visiting during the Kingdom’s major festivals.

“The issue is just an idea for our team to study,” he said.

The meeting also raised some of the challenges and solutions that Cambodia could implement to attract tourists for visits and long-term stays.

The main points discussed during the meeting included increasing Cambodia’s tourism promotion in the international market, expanding direct flights to India, and connecting flights to transport tourists on cruises from Preah Sihanouk to Siem Reap provinces.

This aims to curtail the sale of counterfeit products and create more new tourism products.

The meeting also raised the issue of infrastructure management and plans to develop tourism products along the Tonle Sap Lake as well as around the Kulen mountains.

The board was created by representatives of the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Civil Aviation Secretariat, Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, Asia Pacific Travel Agents, and Angkor Air.

Pacific Asia Travel Association president Thourn Sinan said while the number of Chinese tourists arriving in Cambodia is gradually showing more positive signs, further strategic planning is needed to boost prestige in the Kingdom’s tourism sector within the international arena.

However, he also expressed concern about the growing sales of fake tourism products to tourists.

“[These sales] create a negative impact among [international] tourists and Cambodia’s reputation,” he said.

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