Cambodia and China on Wednesday evening held the first event of the Tourism and Culture Year at Chaktomuk Theater in Phnom Penh’s Daun Penh district.
Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, visiting Chinese Culture and Tourism Minister Luo Shugang and Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian joined hundreds of Chinese and Cambodian people who attended the event.
Mr Namhong read a message from Prime Minister Hun Sen, who said Cambodia and China have friendly relations, traditional ties and closely cooperate on development in all sectors.
“The culture sector is an effective tool to develop the tourism sector,” Mr Hun Sen said in his message, adding that tourism and culture should be linked in order to create opportunities to develop the country.
He also said the event and Mr Luo’s visit to Cambodia deepen the brotherly ties between both countries and that through the Belt and Road Initiative, Cambodia and China can jointly promote tourism and culture for mutual benefits.
During the event, Mr Wang read a message from Chinese Prime Minister Le Keqiang, which said that China and Cambodia are good neighbours with friendly ties.
Mr Le also said that during Mr Hun Sen’s recent visit to China, both countries agreed that the year of tourism and culture will boost relations between both countries.
“Cambodia is a country with a very ancient civilisation and its history is very rich,” he said in his message. “The country also has very famous world heritage sites such as the Angkor Wat temple, Preah Vihear temple and Prei Kuk temple.”
Mr Le noted that Chinese civilisation is more than 5,000 years old and is rich in culture, including literature, art and dance.
He also said that the Chinese government will encourage more people to visit Cambodia, adding that last year about 1.9 million Chinese visited the Kingdom.
Mr Le noted that carvings on the walls at Angkor Wat show that there was interaction between Chinese and Cambodian people more than 1,000 years ago.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon recently said that Chinese tourists top the list of international visitors to the Kingdom.
He said that by next year, the government expects at least three million Chinese visitors and projected that the total number of international tourists will reach seven million.
To Cambodia, China is a significant trading partner and a driving force behind the Kingdom’s development. From 1994 to 2016, China contributed almost $15 billion toward Cambodia’s development.
In 2017, bilateral trade between both nations reached nearly $6 billion, an increase of 22 percent compared with 2016.