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Tourism startups look for inroads

Tourists explore the Angkor Wat temple earlier this year in Siem Reap province.
Tourists explore the Angkor Wat temple earlier this year in Siem Reap province.

Tourism startups look for inroads

Four international startups selected by a regional program aimed at capitalising on the Kingdom’s booming tourism market have begun scouting out Cambodia’s largest cities looking for ways to expand.

The Mekong Innovative Startup Tourism (MIST) platform, operated by the Mekong Business Initiative (MBI), partnered with Cambodian business development firm Confluences Asia to lead tours for all four startups. The MIST platform was launched earlier this year as a tool for boosting private-sector-led innovation in the tourism industry.

Soreasmey Ke Bin, managing director of Confluences Asia, explained that Vietnam-based startup Di Vui, which offers tours and activities geared toward Vietnamese tourists, visited Phnom Penh and Siem Reap last week and met with over a dozen potential local partners as well as representatives from the Cambodia Tourism Federation and Ministry of Tourism.

According to Soreasmey, Di Vui is now choosing its local partners and will likely offer an expanded menu of services beginning as early as January.

Urban Tales, another Vietnamese startup which offers treasure hunts in international cities, is meeting with a dozen Phnom Penh-based tourism agencies and operators this week in the hopes of bringing its interactive city tour to the capital.

Thai-based TakeMeTour, which offers one-day city tours, and Malaysian-based BorderPass, which hastens immigration clearance for business travellers, will be visiting next month.

“We think it’s a good thing for the community [for these startups to enter the tourism industry], as this will help bring some good practices to the market and it will also show our local startups that it’s possible even for them to go and expand in neighbouring markets,” said Soreasmey.

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