The European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) on Wednesday awarded the Kingdom the title of the world’s best tourism destination for 2016.
Cambodia outperformed some 30 contestants, including last year’s winner Ethiopia, an African country, thanks to her innumerable attractions, rich cultural history, civilization, ancient landmarks, temples and beautiful natural wonders.
Cambodia presented its nomination for the coveted award under the theme “Cambodia: The Land of Magic, The Place Where Gods and Kings Built the World!”
It is appropriate for Europe to express its commitment to, and appreciation for, Asia by crowning Cambodia as the favorite cultural destination and world’s best tourist destination for 2016,” said ECTT director Ioan Matei.
ECTT has been formed with 28 countries in Europe as its members. Emphasizing the prominence of the occasion, the council’s president, Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, said: “The most important world tourism prize was entrusted to the people of Cambodia.”
“Cambodia has risen from ashes of nefarious time and is today a perfect destination crowned in the diamonds of Mekong, endowed with the beauties of Siem Reap and Battambang and made immortal by the works of Gods and Kings at Angkor,” he said.
Leading by example has always been the motto of the European Council on Tourism and Trade and the familiarization tour of high-ranking members of the council to Cambodia at the invitation of the Kingdom serves as a proof of this enduring truth,” Dr. Anton noted.
Cambodia Association Travel Agent (CATA) president Mr. Ang Kim Eang said that the award reflects the core strengths of the country such as its rich heritage, cultural tourism, eco-tourism, ancient temples and other historical sites.
“That’s very impressive and definitely we were the most suitable candidate for the award. It would be another milestone in the development of the tourism sector of the country and a great achievement to share with the world, especially among European tourists, so more Europeans visit us,” Mr. Kim Eang said.
Incidentally, the number of European tourists has been declining ever since the global financial crisis gripped the world. And then another crisis has overwhelmed Europe affecting people’s spending on travel, observed Mr. Kim Eang.
“The [economic] situation in Europe is yet to make a signification improvement. Nevertheless, it [the award] is still good news for them [Europeans] to know of our country’s achievement as the ‘World’s Best Tourist Destination,” he added.
Last year, Cambodia welcomed some 4.7 million foreign tourists, a slight increase of 6 percent compared to a year earlier. Of the total, 719,134 tourists were from Europe accounting for 15 percent of total arrivals.
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