Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Govt aims to boost tourism numbers with sporting events

Govt aims to boost tourism numbers with sporting events

Govt aims to boost tourism numbers with sporting events

Officials look to revive the flagging sector with athletic competitions

at its marquee tourism draw, the ancient temples of Angkor

GOVERNMENT tourism officials are organizing two major sports events at Angkor Wat to invigorate tourism at a time when consumers around the world are feeling the squeeze.

Over the weekend, tourism minister Thong Khon announced the upcoming half-marathon on December 7 around the ancient temple grounds,with some 1,300 Khmer contestants and 800 foreign contestants representing 31 countries.

Several days later, on December 11, local and international professional golfers will tee off at the second annual Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open.

"The two events will help attract tourists to Cambodia. They will show Cambodia has good security and political stability," Thong Khon told reporters at the Ministry of Tourism.

Cambodia received 1.7 million international visitors in the first ten months of this year, according to the ministry - more than an eight percent increase compared with last year.  

"We expect the number this year to reach 2.15 million," he said.

At the end of last year, the government predicted international visitor arrivals to reach 2.2 million in 2008 and 2.7 million in 2009. They have since curbed their expectations following the global financial crisis and border disputes with Thailand.

Not enough to save the day

The president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, Ho Vandy, was sceptical the two events would stem downward trends in the sector.

"The ministry must be more realistic. The best plan to attract more tourists is to increase the number of international flights and push for lower prices of air tickets," he told the Post.

Speaking at the Government-Private Sector Forum in Phnom Penh on Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen urged the tourism ministry to target more Asian visitors to diversify the demographic of its market.  

"I have ordered the tourism ministry and civil airline authority to double their efforts  to attract more regional tourists ... rather than relying on long-distance tourists to sustain growth," he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor Wat named as the top landmark for the second year

    Travel website TripAdvisor has named Cambodia’s ancient wonder Angkor Wat as the top landmark in the world for the second year running in their Travelers’ Choice Award 2018, an achievement Cambodian tourism operators expect will attract more tourists to the Kingdom. The website uses traveller

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Hun Sen detractors ‘will die’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday said those who curse or insult him would eventually die without a plot of land to bury their bodies after being killed by lightning, suffering the same fate as those who recently died in Thmar Baing district in Koh

  • Ministry’s plan for net sparks fears

    The government has ordered all domestic and international internet traffic in the Kingdom to pass through a Data Management Centre (DMC) that has been newly created by the state-owned Telecom Cambodia, in a move some have claimed is an attempt to censor government critics. Spokesman