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WTO to host tourism contest

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The Kingdom boasts vast natural and rural areas with great prospects for tourism development. Hong Menea

WTO to host tourism contest

The Ministry of Tourism on June 17 invited tourism start-ups to apply for the World Tourism Organisation’s (WTO) UNWTO Rural Tourism Startup Competition.

The event will provide participants a chance to get technical and business mentoring to scale their businesses and improve their products and services, as well as the opportunity to present their business models at the WTO General Assembly in October, it said via social media.

It stressed the merits of taking part in the WTO’s “Young Entrepreneurs in Rural Tourism” contest for aspiring businesspeople in tourism or those with start-up ambitions that could potentially help rural communities recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

“The competition aims to recruit outstanding young entrepreneurs from WTO member countries to stimulate the creation of tourism businesses, especially in rural tourism destinations, and support the livelihoods of locals towards more sustainable, inclusive and resilient tourism development, especially in retort to the blows dealt by the Covid-19 crisis,” the ministry said.

Winners of the competition will become members of the World Young Entrepreneurs Network, receive technical assistance from the WTO to strengthen their businesses, and have the opportunity to take the stage and pitch their businesses to the management of World Tourism from 159 countries and major world organisations at the 24th WTO General Assembly in October, in the major Moroccan economic centre of Marrakesh, it said.

To qualify, candidates must demonstrate the uniqueness of their businesses, highlight the level of innovation, address their bearing on the livelihoods of people affected by Covid-19, and show how they contribute to sustainable development at the grassroots level, it added.

It invited those interested in the competition to visit the website unwto.org/unwto-global-rural-tourism-startup-competition

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin told The Post that young people are the main driving force behind the promotion of the ecotourism and rural tourism potential resting in the Kingdom, emphasising that their participation in “such a world-class competition” is very important to extend their abilities and gain new experiences.

Pointing out that the Kingdom boasts vast natural and rural areas with great prospects for tourism development, she said the competition offers a rare and special opportunity for young Cambodians to attract foreign tourists to the Kingdom, especially after the situation surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic has been subdued.

“This event is being held at a time when Cambodia is studying the possibility of reopening to foreign tourists, so it is an opportunity for young people to promote Cambodia’s rural tourism,” Sivlin said.

On April 7, tourism minister Thong Khon said he had asked Prime Minister Hun Sen to consider opening the door to the Angkor area in October-December for international tourists who have been vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

The appeal came amid improvements in community management in the Angkor area and a sped-up vaccination process for civil servants and key players in the tourism industry, as well as other sectors, he said.

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