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EU to assist tourism sector post COVID-19

Chhut Bunthoeun / Khmer Times Share:
Archive: Passengers queue up to check in for their flights at Phnom Penh International Airport. KT/Khem Sovannara

Cambodia has requested the European Union assist the Kingdom’s hard-hit tourism sector once the COVID-19 pandemic has been resolved and international travel begins again.

The request came after Tourism Minister Thong Khon and EU Ambassador to Cambodia Carmen Moreno held a bilateral talk last week, discussing Cambodia’s tourism sector, which is considered one of the country’s four economic pillars.

Thong Khon formally asked for the ambassador’s support and cooperation, requesting the union share advice on how to restore the sector while also seeking to promote the Kingdom’s tourism destinations in the EU market.

In addition to destination promotion, investment in the sectors’ human development was also requested.

“The tourism sector has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 which has resulted in a lot of job losses for the sector. However, recently we have seen a good move, with about 400,000 domestic tourists travelling to tourism sites nationwide in the last three weeks of the month,” he said.

He added that the Ministry is planning to organise additional training skills for those who are unemployed in anticipation for when foreign tourists do return.

EU Ambassador Carmen Moreno said that the EU will help support the Kingdom’s tourism development, hoping the collaboration will further improve relations between the Cambodian government and the EU, committing to help promote the Kingdom’s tourism destinations to the EU market. In 2019 Cambodia recorded 793,937 arrivals from the EU, down 3 percent year-on-year.

Arrivals also dropped 24 percent in the first quarter of 2020 attracting only 221,066 visits.

Last year, the Kingdom welcomed roughly 6.6 million tourists, generating almost $5 billion and funding around 630,000 jobs, with the sector contributing around 12 percent to the country’s gross domestic product last year.

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