The Ministry of Tourism released the results of an inter-ministerial committee meeting concerning Siem Reap province’s Tourism Development Master Plan for 2020-2035 on Wednesday, revealing the government’s plan to improve the overall tourist landscape there.
The meeting was attended by Minister of Tourism and committee chairman Thong Khon, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona, Minister of Environment Say Sam Al and provincial deputy governor Tea Seiha.
Firstly, Siem Reap provincial tourism will be promoted as a “quality tourism destination”.
Angkor Wat is currently the biggest draw for tourists, but the government would like to include cultural and eco-tourism, the meeting report said.
The master plan unveiled the concept of “Siem Reap beyond the Temple” as it aims to create a wide range of leisure activities in the province.
The report said the master plan will give the province the ability to better respond to current and future situations which may arise. The 15-year plan aims to completely transform Siem Reap into a multifaceted tourism destination with a strong economy while improving the living standards of locals.
The plan will improve and preserve the historical sites of Angkor, the province’s urban areas, Siem Reap river, the Tonle Sap area, the Kulen National Park and rural areas in the province. Tourism is expected to play a role in developing the economy of these areas.
Another point agreed upon was transforming Siem Reap from a one-stop destination to visit Angkor to a quality destination which entices tourists to visit again. A higher volume of tourists is expected to help drive the local economy, according to the meeting report.
If tourists are encouraged to explore more of the province and they enjoy it, it provides an opportunity for revenue generated by them to improve the local economy and reduce poverty, the report said.
Promoting a clean environment was viewed as another important goal of the master plan as well as adapting to the risks of climate change.
The establishment and development of new tourist destinations in the province are also viewed as primary goals. The ample natural spaces in the province and its rich cultural traditions will be integral to reshaping the province’s identity.
New tourism marketing strategies and the facilitation of waterway, road, rail and air connectivity to Siem Reap is planned as well.
Royal Academy of Cambodia business researcher Hong Vannak said the restructuring of infrastructure and tourism services will attract more tourists when the Covid-19 crisis ends.