Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tourism: more info needed

Tourism: more info needed

Tourism: more info needed

9 PreahVihearScottHowes

In diversifing its holiday attractions, Cambodia’s tourism industry should focus on three key areas – the country’s northeastern region, the coasts and the vicinity around Siem Reap – but efforts to promote these destinations are still lacking, an industry leader says.

In particular, Siem Reap has the potential to receive up to 10 million tourists a year, so visits to its surrounding areas should be encouraged, said Tek Reth Samrach, secretary of state at the Council of
Ministers.

“Today, tourists stay only one or two nights in Siem Reap, and they visit only the main temples of Angkor,” he said.  But their stay would be longer if they knew about the possible attractions surrounding Siem Reap, such as Preah Vihear, Phnom Kulen, Khao Ke temple, Kampong Kdei bridge and the Roluos area, he added.

These areas “need more promotion, more information, and detailed [tour] packages” targeting visitors, said Samrach, who is also chairman of Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA).

Statistics from the Ministry of Tourism show that Siem Reap attracted 2.06 million international visitors last year. International tourists stayed an average of 6.3 days in Cambodia, the shortest duration since 2005, and down from the decade’s high of 6.65 days in 2008.

Samrach was speaking at an industry workshop organised by CAA at Phnom Penh’s Intercontinental Hotel last week.

“In the past, our tourism industry was not able to utilise its potential to a great extent due to many reasons. Consequently, the number of tourist arrivals remained modest,” he said.

To boost tourism, he suggested that tour operators also promote northeastern Cambodia, and list “details of all possible access into this area”. The area encompasses Ratanakkiri, Mondulkiri, Stung Treng and Kratie provinces, and boasts waterfalls, wildlife and the culture of ethnic minority groups, he said.

As for the coastal areas – Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep – “there are many tourists . . . but the tourist information is still limited”.

Ho Vandy, co-chair of the government-private sector working group on tourism, said areas such as Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri are hard to access, often entailing at least a 10-hour drive from Phnom Penh.

Instead, he said, Cambodia Angkor Air and the to-be-launched Cambodia Airlines should institute domestic flights to these areas, so it is “easy for tour operators to promote them”.

As for tourists staying a slightly shorter time in the country, Vandy put it down to today’s ease of travel. With more direct flights now serving Cambodia from abroad, tourists can quickly “come in and get out”, he said.

In 2012, the tourism sector contributed about 12 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product, or some $2 billion, the Post reported earlier this year.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen ready to ‘break record’, says Rainsy lost

    Caretaker prime minister Hun Sen used a meeting with 18,400 factory workers on Wednesday to predict that he would beat the record for being the world’s longest-serving non-royal leader. He also used the platform to slam political opponent Sam Rainsy who he said had lost

  • Sihanoukville land prices skyrocketing amid breakneck development

    Sihanoukville, the Kingdom’s most famous beach destination for tourists, is seemingly becoming a paradise for Chinese investors as well. The huge influx of Chinese investors has caused property values to rise, especially the price of land, which has nearly doubled in some places near

  • US names new ambassador to Cambodia

    US President Donald Trump on Friday appointed W Patrick Murphy as the new US Ambassador to Cambodia, replacing incumbent William A Heidt. A press release posted on the White House’s website said nominee W Patrick Murphy is currently acting principal deputy assistant secretary at

  • Kingdom is at a crossroads between East, West after poll

    It was dubbed a success by caretaker prime minister Hun Sen after the electoral victory of his Cambodian People’s Party (CPP), which is poised to take all seats in the National Assembly. But the July 29 national election has not been positively looked at by