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Tourism a key revenue generator for SMEs

Workers bundle packaged goods into plastic bags at the LYLY Food Industry Company factory in Phnom Penh in 2013.
Workers bundle packaged goods into plastic bags at the LYLY Food Industry Company factory in Phnom Penh in 2013. Vireak Mai

Tourism a key revenue generator for SMEs

Cambodia's small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) earned $1.9 billion in revenue last year from the tourism sector, and could increase this amount further by reducing imports, an industry spokesman said yesterday.

Te Taing Por, president of the Federation of Association for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises of Cambodia (FASMEC), said promotional events such as the Agri-Tourism Exhibition and Sea and River Festival – where about a third of the featured products were domestically produced – were big revenue generators for Cambodian SMEs.

“We make a lot of profit from exhibitions and other events, which means the tourism sector greatly helps SMEs,” he said.

Taing Por said the latest FASMEC statistics on SME production in Cambodia project 10 per cent growth, adding that these companies could generate an additional $2.3 billion in revenue if Thai imports to Cambodia were reduced in some capacity.

“We expect revenues to continue to increase this year, even though neighbouring product exhibitions from Thailand or Vietnam will negatively impact our SMEs,” he said. “We are trying to develop solutions with the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Commerce to minimise this impact.”

Keo Mom, CEO of LyLy Food industry, said that Cambodian exhibitions should feature only Cambodian products and exclude competing brands from neighbouring countries.

“Exhibitions are not only to gain profit, but are also a chance to advertise products to suppliers and customers,” she said. “Only focusing on domestic products will better promote our SMEs and help [us] gain more profit too.”

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said that his ministry consciously prepares special events for SMEs to sell and advertise their products in areas that struggle to attract more local and international tourists.

“Most tourists buy a lot of local products at the events, which we believe helps a lot of our SMEs,” he said.

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