The the fiftieth anniversary of trade relations between Cambodia and Switzerland, 54 tourism students from Lucerne University visited the kingdom on a ten-day research excursion last month, organised by Siem Reap-based and Swiss-owned Lolei Travel agency.
The fiftieth anniversary of trade relations between Cambodia and Switzerland was marked with a visit to the Kingdom by 54 tourism students from Lucerne University on a ten-day research excursion last month, organised by Siem Reap-based and Swiss-owned Lolei Travel agency.
“The cultural, social and historical matters in Cambodia offer a great variety of research fields,” René Zeier, CEO of the tourism school at Lucerne University, told the Insider, “Add the good infrastructure and the availability of exciting speakers, and you get a perfect place to deepen the students’ knowledge about the tourism industry in Southeast Asia.”
The Swiss guests made Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor their class room for one day and listened to the presentations by chanting monks from Wat Damnak, Apsara dancers, businessmen and journalists, among them Insider editor Peter Olszewski.
Christian Sack, general manager of Raffles Grand Hotel d'Angkor, underlined that “everything can be arranged” in booming Temple Town. He pointed out that recently a New York-based Chinese lawyer enjoyed a private dinner with his wife and two teenager kids at Bayon temple and paid $14, 000 plus a $4,000 tip. Swiss expatriate Paul Wallimann talked about his Haven Restaurant in Siem Reap that gives work training to adult orphans after they leave their orphanages at the age of 18. Wallimann asked students not to visit any orphanages, since a certain number of them were founded for business reasons only. “You can even rate them on Tripadvisor, which is a shame”, Wallimann added.
Peter Willers, German head of the demining unit number 6 at the Cambodian Mine Action Center (CMAC) informed the students about the clearance of landmines and unexploded bombs in Cambodia.
A more-than-ten-year-old survey claims 4500 square kilometres of land are contaminated by mines, but Willers said that the less pessimistic results of a new survey will be published soon. But Cambodia remains in the top three of contaminated countries, along with Angola and Afghanistan. It still relies on foreign money to get rid of the explosive heritage. The German government, for example, pays about $ 1.5 million per year, while the French government stopped all payments.
The Swiss students also visited Angkor Wat, where Professor Hans Leisen from the German Apsara Conservation Project was the tour guide.