Digital literacy will play an important role in supporting the recovery of Cambodian tourism from the Covid-19 crisis and leveraging the potential of new technologies to reorganise and develop the ecosystem around Industry 4.0, and strengthen the sustainability and competitive edge of the sector.

The comment was made at the launch of a tourism-oriented digital literacy training programme on November 10 by Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, who is also chairman of a public-private working group tasked with restoring and propping up the Cambodian tourism industry during and after the Covid-19 crisis.

Khon said that technology is rapidly evolving and has penetrated deeply into socio-economic activities, relationships and all areas of daily life, greatly influencing production, consumption behaviour and the structure of the national economy, including the tourism sector.

“The concept of digital literacy is very critical to envision the next step in promoting the development of smart tourism in Cambodia, by leveraging the potential of technology to manage and develop the national tourism sector towards growth,” he said.

The government has set out the Rectangular Strategy Phase IV to prepare for and adopt Industry 4.0, and the development of the digital economy is one of the key objectives, for which a series of policies and strategic plans has been rolled out, the minister said.

“In the spirit of joining the Royal Government in enhancing the building of the digital economy in Cambodia, the Ministry of Tourism has been promoting digitalisation through modernisation, management of the tourism industry, training and the online mainstream sphere as well,” Khon added.

Hun Many, chairman of the National Assembly Commission on Education, Youth, Sports, Cult and Religious Affairs, Culture and Tourism, underlined that strengthening science and technology education in primary and secondary school is necessary to promote digital literacy in the field of tourism.

Many, who is also Cambodia 4.0 Centre chairman, said all stakeholders must do their bit to spur the absorption and adaptation of new technologies, and encourage people to attend literacy training programmes and learn how to access additional resources that are available on the internet.

He said it is also necessary to build cooperation between government institutions, the private sector and educational institutions – including general education, universities and vocational training – to integrate technology and science education in training, orientation and capacity building.

These institutions must continue to develop support infrastructure, especially information technology and telecommunications networks, to support innovation and the raise the level of digital knowledge and skills in Cambodia, he added.

Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan said that with widespread technology use and expertise nationwide, the process of booking airlines, hotels and other tourism services would be far easier, further stoking a boom.

He noted that smartphone tech has been an indispensable component of the communication field’s role in stimulating the tourism sector.

“Once we have more of this technological knowledge through this training, it’ll help to promote Cambodian tourism products to customers in a short time, without spending a lot of money, and help to provide service to customers without difficulties in contacting them or asking for information multiple times,” he said.