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More tourists wanted, please

Sorn Sarath / Khmer Times Share:
AFP

Cambodia has called on the US-ASEAN Business Council’s (US-ABC) members to put more investment in the Kingdom’s tourism sector to tap the country’s potential sector after COVID-19 ends.

The call was made by the Minister of Tourism in the US-ABC meeting via video conference.

During the meeting, Tourism Minister Thong Khon presented an opportunity in investing in Cambodia’s tourism sector.

The minister has asked the council to help Cambodia to fight against the pandemic spread and work with the ministry’s technical team to implement the tourism development project.

“We call on US-ABC members to put more investment in the Kingdom’ tourism sector, especially eco-tourism, which has the most potential products to attract the dollar tourists,” he said.

The US-ABC is a leading advocacy group that aims to foster economic growth and trade ties between the United States and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) 10-member countries.

The Council, which represents more than 160 of the largest US corporations, has offices in New York City, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.

In response, the US-ABC has also proposed to help Cambodia to solve the issue of tourism business during the COVID-19 and after.

Michael W. Michala, the US-ABC senior vice-president and country managing director said that currently, most of the UA-ABC’s members are the US corporates, which have been operating in Asean and around the world.

“For the next meeting, there will be participation from the US leading companies such as Google, Visa, Agoda, Expedia and Airbnb to initiate good practice to fight COVID-19,” he said.

“We will also cooperate to restore the tourism sector after the pandemic spread
and continue to work with Cambodia in tourism development during and after COVID-19,” he added.

The Ministry of Tourism last week announced it will develop the mangrove forest in Siem Reap province into a new eco-tourism site, a move to diversify the Kingdom’s tourism destinations to attract more visitors.

He said that the new eco-tourism will provide huge potential to attract both local and international visitors after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

The COVID-19 hit hard Cambodia’s tourism sector,  closing about 3,000 tourism-based businesses have and losing more than 45,045 staff as of May, according to figures from the Ministry of Tourism. However, the figures shows Phnom Penh is not as severely affected as other main tourist destinations such as Siem Reap.

The number of tourism-related businesses in the Capital Phnom Penh closed temporarily or permanently is about 10 percent of the total business in the country, affecting 1,960 staff members. The figure excludes entertainment services, spas and massage parlours.

Unemployment has severely affected the social economy. The minister said the sector would see a huge loss of $3 billion in revenue this year.

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