South Korean officials on Friday praised Cambodian-Korean relations at the 2019 Gangwon Travel Mart in Phnom Penh.
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Speaking to reporters, Chung Manho, vice governor of Gangwon province, said Cambodia is one of the top destinations for Korean visitors, with interest in Cambodian history and culture, particularly the temples of Angkor, running high.
“Cambodia has a great culture and history,” he said. “Its ancient temples are very impressive and attract 300,000 Korean tourists every year. This figure continues to increase every year.
“I am very happy to visit Cambodia again. I already visited Angkor Wat many years ago,” he added.
He said the visit of the Korean Prime Minister in March helped build trust between two governments, adding that the Cambodian market offers great opportunities for Korean investors.
“Today, for example, two Korean companies signed memorandums of understanding with travel agencies in Cambodia to set up tour packages here and promote the tourism sector,” he said.
“There are not many Cambodian tourists that choose to visit Gangwon province but I do hope that this will change in the future, particularly after the tour agencies signed these MoUs.
“My province has a lot of attractive destinations for Cambodians, especially areas where they can experience snow,” he added.
During his visit to Cambodia in March, South Korean President Moon Jae-in agreed to work together with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to boost trade and investment between the two nations.
Speaking at the Cambodia-Korea Business Summit, held at Phnom Penh’s Peace Palace, Mr Moon said Cambodia and South Korea have become important economic partners and highlighted that last year bilateral trade reached nearly $1 billion. He said that South Korea is Cambodia’s second largest investor.
Mr Moon said more than 300 South Korean firms are doing business here, providing thousands of jobs to Cambodians.
“Cambodia is attracting larger amounts of foreign direct investment and it will be one of the most important markets for infrastructure projects in Asia in the next 10 years. Korean companies are increasingly expanding their investments and operations here,” the Korean premier said.
“We hope the MoUs signed today will boost bilateral investment.”
South Korea ranks second in FDI flowing into the Kingdom. From 1994 to 2018, the Cambodian government approved 212 investment projects from South Korea worth a combined $4.56 billion.
Bilateral trade rose by 11 percent last year. That year 300,000 South Korean tourists visited the Kingdom.
From 1996 to 2018, the South Korean government invested about $632 million in development cooperation in Cambodia, with around $300 million disbursed through grants.