Cambodia and its fellow ASEAN member countries have agreed to establish an ASEAN ad-hoc task force to promote cooperation between the bloc’s tourism and transport sectors.

The task force, made up of officials from the tourist and transport sectors across the region, have adopted a Joint Ministerial Statement, demonstrating their commitment to work together.

The task force was announced as Laos hosted the 29th ASEAN Transport Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings on November 9-10.

Minister of Tourism Sok Soken headed the Cambodian delegation to the virtual meeting, which was co-chaired by Laos Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism Suanesavanh Vignaket and Laos Minister of Public Works and Transport Ngampasong Muongmany.

The meeting was attended by the ASEAN tourism and transport ministers, as well as delegates from the two sectors and the ASEAN secretary-general, along with representatives from the Angkor International Airport Investment (Cambodia) Co Ltd (AIAI) and the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).

A November 11 press release explained that the objectives of the meeting were to strengthen cooperation between the bloc’s tourism and transport sectors in order to foster economic growth in the post-Covid-19 era, as well as to boost intra-ASEAN travel.

The release added that the meeting recognised the importance of cross-sectoral cooperation between the two sectors, noting that they should continue to work closely together to investigate new strategies to boost tourism flow in the region.

Soken expressed his gratitude toward Laos for hosting the meeting. He highlighted the importance of coherent cooperation between all stakeholders in order to promote the integration of the tourism and transport sectors and to ensure sustainable and inclusive ASEAN economic growth.

“The collaboration between the two sectors will pave the way for increasing tourists’ confidence. We are all focused on the common goal of developing the ASEAN region into a high-quality tourism destination,” he said.

Minister of Public Works and Transport Peng Ponea and ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn agreed to continue to foster closer cooperation between Cambodia and ASEAN, especially in the public works sector, to improve regional transport infrastructure and cross-border connectivity.

The participants discussed key points of strengthening air, water and land connections to improve regional travel, in order to stimulate sustainable development. They also explored expanding cooperation in date collection and information sharing.