The cities of Battambang, Kampot, Sihanoukville, Siem Reap, Kep, Kampong Cham, in addition to Doun Penh, a district of Phnom Penh, all received the top accolade, three romdul flowers, in the second edition of the country’s Clean City Contest.
In total, judges recognized 38 cities, which were awarded either three, two or one romdul flower.
Established in 2015, when the first iteration of the competition took place, the Clean City Contest valuate cities on the basis of cleanliness, waste management, urban planning, as well as public health and safety.
Speaking during the closing ceremony of the Ministry of Tourism’s annual conference yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen highlighted the importance of this competition for the local tourism industry.
“The winners of the contest are not only contributing to increasing standards of service and cleanliness. They are also promoting Cambodia abroad as a top tourism destination,” the premier said.
In his speech, Mr Hun Sen said clean cities are a bridge for cultural exchanges as they are visited by people from all over the world.
He urged attendants to prioritise sustainable development, particularly through the construction of enabling infrastructure, the correct management of buildings and proper garbage disposal.
“All cities must build the right infrastructure and develop the necessary tourism products and services to cater to every tourist, including people with disabilities, old people, pregnant women and children. This is in line with Asean’s ‘Tourism for All’ policy.”
Mr Hun Sen also reminded ministry officials of the importance of developing the aviation sector and increasing the country’s air linkages with neighbouring and distant countries.
“We need to enhance air connectivity and widen the tourism offer. With the expected surge in tourism in years to come, making our cities clean and safe, while increasing cultural amenities and entertainment, is an absolute priority.”
Tourism Minister Thong Khon also lavished praise on the competition.
“The aim of the contest is to prompt local authorities to clean their cities and improve public services,” Mr Khon said.
“The competition will also help us be on par with Asean tourism standards.”
Last month, three Cambodian cities – Battambang, Kep and Siem Reap – received the Asean clean tourism award at the Asean Tourism Forum 2018, held in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Ho Vandy, secretary general of Cambodian National Tourism Alliance and president of World Express Tour and Travel Company, said the Clean City Contest will jolt authorities, private sector and citizens into action.
“It is an alert message to authorities and people in each city. They need to make their surroundings clean and green if they want their cities to develop sustainably,” Mr Vandy said.
“Clean and green cities have the greatest tourism potential.”
Mr Vandy had a suggestion for the government to increase cleanliness standards across the nation.
“I would like to suggest a national day where everyone gets together to clean up garbage from cities, villages, and tourism sites around the country.
“If we all take on the habit of cleaning up our surroundings regularly, tourists won’t be welcomed by dirty streets when they visit our country.”