The Ministry of Tourism said it will create a working group whose goal will be to devise strategies to increase the share of local products used by local firms, particularly those in hospitality.
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The aim of the initiative is to reduce imports of goods that can be produced in the Kingdom, with the government estimating Cambodia loses from $300 to $400 million in revenue a year because local hospitality firms, including restaurants and hotels, are not sourcing their products locally.
Speaking to reporters during a workshop on local production chains, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said the upcoming working group is in line with the government’s policy to boost production of agricultural goods and handicrafts and promote growth in the SME sector.
“This [initiative] is part of the government’s deep reform of the economy,” Mr Khon said. “It is an important initiative to increase people’s incomes in the tourism sector, reduce imports, add value to local products, and minimise losses in revenue to imported goods.
“If we can reduce 10 percent of the leakage, we can earn $300 to $400 million more in revenue,” he said.
“Some imports cannot be replaced, but some can. For instance, Cambodia does not need to import vegetables, fruits, chicken or beef as they can be produced locally,” he added.
The tourism sector earned $4.3 billion in revenue last year, an increase of around 20 percent, according to the latest figures from the Ministry of Tourism.
The ministry also said that last year 6.2 million international travellers visited the Kingdom, a 10.7 percent year-on-year increase.
Cambodia expects to welcome 6.7 million foreign tourists this year. By 2020, 7 million international travellers will visit the Kingdom every year, generating more than $5 billion in revenue and 1 million jobs.