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

  • Negotiations on EBA being held

    In an effort to defuse tensions, a senior government official said Cambodia is negotiating with the European Union (EU) on the Everything But Arms (EBA) trade deal, which allows the Kingdom to export goods to the 28-member bloc tariff-free. The EU notified Cambodia on October 5

  • Ministers to tackle sea pollutants

    Preah Sihanouk provincial authorities and members of local communities have collected 77 tonnes of water hyacinth at a Sihanoukville beach, Preah Sihanouk Provincial Hall spokesperson Or Saroeun said. He told The Post yesterday that the aquatic weeds had been floating along some of the province’s

  • Chinese police escort deported scam suspects

    Ninety-one Chinese nationals accused of extorting money from victims in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) scam were deported from Phnom Penh International Airport on Monday under the escort of 182 Chinese police personnel. General Department of Immigration head of investigations Ouk Hay Seila told reporters

  • Sam Rainsy, government group set to clash at IPU Geneva meet?

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy has been invited to speak at the General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, according to a former Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) lawmaker. A government delegation is also set to attend the meeting, a National Assembly press release