Minister of Tourism Thong Khon is leading a delegation from his ministry and the private sector on a four-day visit to Laos from March 12-15 to boost tourism cooperation between the two countries.
In the March 13 statement, tourism ministry said that the visit was made at the instruction of Prime Minister Hun Sen following his two-day visit to Laos in February and based on the memorandum of understanding on tourism cooperation.
During his visit, Thong Khon will meet with the deputy prime minister of Laos along with Suanesavanh Vignaket, Lao Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism. There will also be meetings between the private businesses from the tourism sector of the two countries.
“Through this visit, Cambodia expects to increase reciprocal tourist inflows as well as Chinese and other third-country inflows between Laos and Cambodia,” the tourism ministry said.
Last month, Cambodia and Laos agreed to connect Champasak province in Laos with Cambodia’s Preah Vihear province and Attapeu province with Cambodia’s Ratanakkiri province to facilitate people-to-people contacts.
The agreement was reached during a meeting between Hun Sen and Lao Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone during the former’s visit to Laos.
The two prime ministers also discussed issues related to tourism like land and air travel connections to provide opportunities for tourists to travel to Laos-Cambodia and Cambodia-Laos as destinations. The two sides also discussed the high-speed rail link between Cambodia, Laos and other countries.
Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on March 13 that the visit was necessary to prepare tourism packages for Chinese tourists as Laos has a high-speed rail link to China now, which is convenient for both goods and tourists coming from China to Laos.
He said that Laos is a land-locked country, which limited its trade in the past, but now it is connected extensively by land transport and high-speed rail that will help speed up its development.
“So it is necessary to create a tour package with Laos. However, Cambodia needs to prepare further to welcome tourists. In the tourism sector, whether it is Chinese or European tourists, Cambodia must strengthen services, products, infrastructure, to receive these tourists to avoid any problems.
“Therefore, Cambodia should be sufficiently prepared to attract tourism and seize opportunities for the national interest in the tourism sector on a larger scale,” he said.