Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tourism cooperation with France, Iran on cards

Tourism cooperation with France, Iran on cards

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Pellet Jacques, the newly-minted French ambassador to Cambodia meets with Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon on February 22. TOURISM MINISTRY

Tourism cooperation with France, Iran on cards

France and Iran have expressed their desire to connect flights with Cambodia and increase tourism cooperation with the Kingdom in other fields, in the hopes of bringing its travel industry back to pre-pandemic heights.

The two countries’ interests were expressed during separate meetings between their diplomats and Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon on February 21, where they expressed their commitment to promote increased cooperation with the Kingdom in the sector.

Pellet Jacques, the newly-minted French ambassador, said: “We support the Royal Government of Cambodia in establishing this tourism cooperation to set an example for other member countries. It is a contribution for the benefit of progress [on all sides], especially on behalf of Cambodia as the ASEAN chair.”

Khon proposed increasing the number of direct flights between France and Cambodia to boost tourist arrivals.

He laid out plans to meet with French tour operators and find more ways to “restore and enhance” tourism to Cambodia. He also highlighted the high number of French traders currently in the Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Cambodia stands ready to attract Muslim tourists, having launched a bevy of Islam-friendly strategies designed to encourage investment and tourism, Khon said.

He asked his Iranian counterparts to assist in studying an upcoming direct Cambodia-Iran flight connection. Both sides also examined the possibility of multi-stop flights that would connect Iran to Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Malaysia, before subsequently stopping in Cambodia.

And Iranian ambassador to Cambodia Ali Akbar Nazari gave the green light for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on tourism cooperation between the two countries that had been proposed by the Kingdom.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Iranian ambassador to Cambodia Ali Akbar Nazari meets with Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon on February 21. TOURISM MINISTRY

“Both sides will arrange for the signing of the MoU on the tourism sector, and at the same time a memorandum on sports, with the signing ceremony taking place in Iran,” he said.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin told The Post that the meeting between the tourism minister and the French ambassador could help boost the Kingdom’s sluggish tourism sector which she said relies heavily on the French.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cambodia annually received around 200,000 tourists from the European country, she said.

“The French people have known, and have a long shared history with Cambodia – things would look a lot brighter with the emergence of more cooperation,” she added.

Meanwhile, Sivlin said that upcoming events like the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, to be held in May 2023, will boost Cambodia’s profile amongst potential tourists from countries such as Iran.

“I expect that through the promotion of the SEA Games that Cambodia will host, the Iranian people will get a better taste of the Kingdom,” she said.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan echoed Sivlin’s views, saying that Cambodia’s increased tourism cooperation, especially with France, is a good sign for the Kingdom’s tourism industry which has historically benefitted from strong French representation.

“Historically, a great deal of holidaymakers had been from France, and every season, the French would always help prop up Cambodian tourism – back then relations between Cambodia and France were intimately close,” Sinan lamented.

MOST VIEWED

  • Typhoon Noru brings flash floods – 16 dead

    An official warned that that the 16th typhoon of the season, Noru, had brought heavy rains to areas the Mekong River and flooded thousands of homes in the provinces bordering Thailand. As of September 27, the death toll from the flooding had risen to 16. National Committee

  • Siem Reap drain canal now ‘mangrove’ promenade

    A more than half a kilometre long stretch of canal in Siem Reap has been covered and turned into a promenade to attract visitors, said Ly Rasmey, secretary of state at the Ministry of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction, on September 16. The new pedestrianised

  • Angkor wildlife, aquarium park still to open October

    The Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium complex about 30km southeast of Siem Reap town with initial total investment of more than $70 million is reportedly still on track for an end-October opening. The park is located on a 100ha plot along National Road 6 in Kbon village, Khchas

  • Defence minister reaffirms Kingdom’s staunch support for One-China policy

    Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh has reaffirmed Cambodia’s unwavering support for the One-China policy. Tea Banh was speaking at the September 20 ceremonial handover of 117 vehicles and other military equipment donated by China’s defence ministry, held at Phnom Chumreay International Military Training

  • Thai Senate delegates in Cambodia to discuss anti-graft co-op

    A delegation from Thailand's Senate was in Phnom Penh on September 28 to meet their Cambodian counterparts to discuss strategies for fighting corruption and enhancing cooperation. The Thai delegates were from its Senate’s Committee on Studying and Inspecting Corruption, Misconduct and Strengthening Good Governance. They

  • Deaths due to ‘lifestyle’ diseases rise in Kingdom

    The Ministry of Health has called on people to pay closer attention to their health to protect themselves from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which it said have caused high rates of deaths in the country. Ministry secretary of state York Sambath made the call at a