The government has set up a public-private working group to restore and prop up the tourism sector in Cambodia during and after the Covid-19 crisis.
With Minister of Tourism Thong Khon as chairman, the working group will comprise officials of relevant ministries and institutions, and 43 individuals from the private sector, according to a Royal Government Decision signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on July 22.
The working group is tasked with leading, managing and monitoring the implementation of the 2021-2025 three-phased national tourism roadmap, and report progress to the government, the decision reads.
The roadmap was formulated to navigate the sector’s emergence from the Covid-19 pandemic and support its recovery.
The decision adds that the working group has the right to use the national budget and assistance from development partners or other legal sources, as well as to use the seal of the Ministry of Tourism to carry out any necessary work.
Ministry spokesman Top Sopheak stressed the importance of the working group’s role in bringing the roadmap to life, which he noted was approved by the government on March 30.
He told The Post: “The main purpose of this working group is to promote and support enterprises and jobs in the tourism sector affected by Covid-19 and to enhance the Cambodian tourism market, domestically and internationally, as well as to strengthen tourism governance, service quality and hospitality, and reinforce tourism capacity.”
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin, who was appointed to the working group, said the private sector would support the government in tourism industry training, policy-making, product development and public order.
“We tourism operators will provide input to the government, be involved in dissemination activities, and seek development partnerships by matching local players with tour operators in the ASEAN region and the EU,” she said.
Cambodia booked just $1.023 billion in international tourism revenue last year, representing a 79.2 per cent nosedive from $4.919 billion in 2019 due to the sweeping effects of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry reported on April 19.
The Kingdom welcomed 1,306,143 international tourists in 2020, down by 80.2 per cent from 6,610,592 in 2019, according to the ministry’s 2020 Tourism Statistics Report.