Cambodia hopes to win long-term tourism benefits from the first India-ASEAN car rally, which includes a 635 km leg through the country December 4-6.
"It is a big promotion for Cambodia," Thong Khon, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Tourism said. "I hope that as a result we will see the introduction of direct flights from India to Phnom Penh or Siem Reap."
Three Cambodian teams totaling 12 drivers-three from the Ministry of Tourism, five from Sunway Hotel and four go-kart drivers-will compete in the 8,000 km rally from India to Singapore, November 22 to December 11, through eight Southeast Asian countries and ending in Batam, Indonesia.
For Chan Seila, at 19 the rally's youngest driver, it will be his first taste of long-distance driving.
"I am very happy to join the rally.," he said. "I have never done anything like this before. I will try my best."
Iccy Harrington, the Cambodian team's manager said this is the first time Cambodian drivers have been in an international rally.
During long distance sections the drivers will change every two hours.
The rally will reach Bavet, the border point in Svay Rieng province on December 4 and drive through eight provinces: Svay Rieng, Prey Veng, Kandal, Phnom Penh, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap and Banteay Meanchey. They will stay two nights at Siem Reap on December 5-6.