Prime Minister Hun Sen said that Cambodia is committed to maintaining its membership in the World-Bays Club and that Cambodia’s four coastal provinces will try to maintain its membership in the club.

Hun Sen made the remarks during the opening of the 16th World Congress of the World-Bays Club on December 10 in Preah Sihanouk province’s Sokha Beach.

He said according to the government’s strategy to develop coastal tourism, Preah Sihanouk is designated as a tourism destination and a multi-purpose economic zone; Kep is set to be a high level luxury tourism destination; Kampot is a cultural heritage tourism and agri-tourism destination while Koh Kong is set to be world coastal eco-tourism.

He said that to maintain that membership, the top priority is to maintain peace, because no tourists will risk visiting a country that is at war.

He said that Cambodia has been celebrating its inclusion in this World-Bays Club by organizing the annual Sea Festival in each of the four coastal provinces.

Hun Sen said that being a member of this world club shows progress for Cambodia’s bays in aspects of socio-economy, tourism, urbanization and the environment, all of which are the deciding factors to be included as the club members.

He said the coastal area is the third main tourism spot after Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, with Preah Sihanouk designated as a multi-purpose special economic zone.

Hun Sen told the Ministry of Tourism and Preah Sihanouk authorities to build a bay museum or Maison de le Baie.

“In this regard, I request that the chairman of the World-Bays Club and all members share experiences and the process of setting up their Maison de le Baie,” Hun Sen said.

He also urged the tourism ministry to work with World-Bays Club to set up a Coastal Tourism Observatory, an institution that will boost coastal tourism development like other members have established.

He urged officials to hold an annual forum to discuss and exchange ideas on Cambodia’s coastal development every May 26 in each of the four coastal provinces.

The World-Bays Club was established in 1997 in Berlin, Germany. The club currently has its headquarters in Vannes, France, with 44 members from 26 countries.

Cambodia was included as a full-rights member to the World-Bays Club during its seventh congress on May 6, 2011 in Toubakouta, Senegal.

The club organizes its congress every year to provide opportunities for members to discuss and exchange experiences on the management of bays as well as challenges to search for sustainable solutions to make bays beautiful and attractive. The congress is also held to present tourism destinations and products from each member.

Hun Sen said in his social media post that after becoming a member of the World-Bays Club, Cambodia hosted its congress in 2013 at Bokor Resort in Kampot province.

The 16th World Congress of the World-Bays Club is running until December 14 with the theme “Bay of Peace, Bay of Hope”.

According to Hun Sen, the congress was cancelled for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Cambodia will also take this opportunity to share its successes in controlling Covid-19 as the disease has caused a serious crisis in the tourism industry around the world.