PM issues 5 recommendations to guide tourism back on track

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Tourists visit Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province earlier this year. Hong Menea

Prime Minister Hun Sen has laid out five general recommendations to swiftly steer the Kingdom’s ailing tourism sector back to its former glory, while making the most out of 2022, which the government recognises as the first full year of the recovery journey.

The recommendations were made in a message dated September 19 issued by the premier on the occasion of the 42nd World Tourism Day, which is set to be celebrated internationally eight days later under this year’s theme of “Rethinking Tourism”.

 

The first of these recommendations is to support the development of a diverse range of quality, safe, attractive, creative and innovative tourism products and destinations, as well as a variety of strategies to market them.

The second is to – when it comes to “priority” tourist attractions – encourage joint planning and the shared use of resources, and to adopt a bottom-up approach to synergise governance.

The third is to promote digitalisation initiatives in the tourism development process, with precedence to those that may appreciably improve resilience, sustainability, quality and competitive advantage.

The fourth is to reinforce existing skills, upskill and reskill to build a competent tourism workforce with the ability and capacity to adapt to changing tourism trends.

The fifth is to strengthen tourism cooperation with other countries and international organisations, under bilateral and multilateral frameworks.

Hun Sen remarked that the 2022 World Tourism Day theme genuinely resonates with the national, regional and global situation of the sector: dogged by a vast, complex, interconnected set of dilemmas, including Covid-19, the Ukraine conflict, widening geopolitical divides and fragmentation, trade and technology wars, and climate change.

 

These convergent crises have been linked to sharp rises in inflation as well as disruptions in production and value chains across the world, and in particular, a significant loss in regional and global economic recovery momentum, which has hampered growth in international tourism, the premier stressed.

To ensure robust development in the Cambodian tourism sector – identified as a top priority for undergirding the economy – and guarantee that it can compete with regional and global counterparts, no stone must be left unturned in the pursuit of the best ways to spark creativity, innovation, and the drive for diversification, as well as to deal with other pressing issues, he suggested.

“These challenges will provide Cambodia with lessons and experiences, as an opportunity to rehabilitate and build up a better, more crisis-resilient tourism sector, as well as serve as important inputs for development considerations and to deepen reforms for the future of tourism, to the benefit of all,” he said.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan told The Post on September 22 that the Kingdom’s tourism sector is still in “early stages” of post-Covid recovery. Although foreign visitors are gradually returning to Cambodia, most are from nearby countries, he pointed out.

Sinan explained that tourism flows are inextricably linked to a multitude of factors, especially geopolitical conditions, which have heated up in a number of regions.

Still, he voiced optimism that the premier’s recommendations would spearhead broader efforts to stage a meaningful, top-speed recovery in Cambodia’s tourism sector.