Cambodia and Vietnam should work together to promote their popular tourist draws, particularly Ha Long Bay in Northern Vietnam, and the Angkor archaeological complex in Siem Reap, according to a Vietnamese official.
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Nguyen Khao Thai, an official at the Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communication, proposed the idea.
“Ha Long Bay, is one of the most beautiful bays and a Unesco-listed site that attracts around 7 million local and foreign tourists every year.
“Cambodia’s Angkor Wat is also a Unesco site that attracts millions of tourists, so both countries should jointly promote tourism packages to these destinations to increase the number of visitors.”
He urged airlines to establish a direct flight between Siem Reap and Ha Long Bay, which he says will boost visitor numbers and allow travellers to go from one iconic destination to another in a matter of hours.
The best option available now for travellers wishing to travel from Siem Reap to Ha Long Bay is a direct flight linking Siem Reap to Hanoi, from where visitors can ride a bus to the bay, Mr Nguyen noted.
“Our tourism ministries should work together. At the moment, the Angkor complex is becoming more and more popular with Vietnamese. Most Vietnamese people would love to visit the Angkor Wat temple which is very beautiful and ancient,” Mr Nguyen said.
Vu Trong Hung, a boat captain in Ha Long Bay, said most visitors to the area are local tourists and Western travellers. Only around 10 percent of visitors come from other Asean countries, he said.
“I don’t see many Cambodians coming here.
“Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam are very close so we should work together to promote our tourist attractions,” Mr Vu added.
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodian National Tourism Alliance, said the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments have never collaborated in the promotion of tourism destinations.
“There isn’t any cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam to promote tourist attractions. However, the private sector in both countries has often worked together to create tourism packages that include Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh and Siem Reap,” he said.
Last year, Cambodia welcomed 5.6 million foreign tourists, an increase of 11.8 percent compared to a year earlier. Vietnam was number two in terms of travellers to the Kingdom by nationality, behind China. More than 830,000 Vietnamese visited Cambodia in 2017, a drop of 13 percent compared to 2016.