In a move set to revitalise Cambodia’s tourism sector, the Ministry of Tourism is poised to collaborate with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) to facilitate a two-day training programme.

Slated for August 10 and 11, this free initiative aims to bolster the skills of those serving the tourism industry, in what experts predict will be a significant boost to the sector.

The prospect of this training came to light when the ministry announced its plans on July 26 in Siem Reap province, as part of the “Tourism Destination Resilience Programme”. It sets the stage for an optimistic vision of a post-Covid resurgence in Cambodia’s tourism.

Among the beneficiaries of this novel programme are tourism experts, instructors, national tourism evaluators, officials and proprietors of small to medium-sized businesses in the sector. The training, scheduled to coincide with the ASEAN Sectoral Mutual Recognition Arrangement, will be conducted in Siem Reap, known for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant local culture.

The ministry expressed that the training forms a pivotal part of their strategy for tourism recovery in the post-Covid era. The goal is to enhance the skill sets of tourism professionals, ultimately contributing to a stronger, more resilient sector.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), commended the initiative. She noted that many tourism professionals had been displaced by the pandemic and emphasised the importance of rebuilding their capacities in time for the busy tourist high season which traditionally begins in October.

“We typically see a surge in visitors in October. It’s essential that we ready a larger team of tourism experts and instructors. If we’re short on skilled professionals, we could find ourselves lagging behind ASEAN states where there’s a major focus on the quality of service”.

Ho Vandy, an adviser to the CATA, echoed these sentiments. While recognising the brevity of the course, he underlined its potential in bolstering the skills of tourism experts.

“To stimulate tourism now, we need to elevate employee morale, attract major investors with special capital packages, offer visas to key target countries, and enhance sanitation and order. These are vital strategies to attract tourists and spur the growth of Cambodia’s tourism sector,” he said.

The Ministry of Tourism anticipates that, upon completion of the course, the trainees will emerge with not only augmented skills, but also a deeper understanding of the industry. Areas of focus will include financial reporting, transactions, record management, service advertising, as well as product and service creation and sales.

The ministry, while not detailing specific prerequisites for the trainees, stipulated that candidates should have prior experience in tourist development and proficiency in English. They also encourage participation from tourism instructors, tourism skill trainers, small and medium business owners in the sector, and tourism officials, thereby casting a wide net for the skill enrichment initiative.