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Ministry, AFD team up to unlock provinces’ tourism potential

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
AFD’s Philippe Sternmetz during his meeting with Tourism Minister Thong Khon on Wednesday. Ministry of Tourism

The Ministry of Tourism and the French Development Agency (AFD) are collaborating on a project to develop the tourism potential of three provinces in Cambodia’s interior.

The ‘Sustainable Cities Project for Kampot, Battambang, and Kratie’ seeks to develop the provinces as secondary tourism destinations, according to the official Facebook page of the Ministry of Tourism.

The ministry said the provinces will be developed following the example of Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and the coast, which are Cambodia’s primary urban tourist destinations.

Last week, Tourism Minister Thong Khon met a delegation from AFD headed by Philippe Sternmetz, AFD Cambodia director, to discuss the project.

During the meeting, AFD received recommendations from the ministry related to the project’s feasibility study, which is being prepared by the French agency.

Battambang, Kratie, and Kampot are known to have some of the best, yet relatively underdeveloped, tourism sites in the Kingdom. These include rivers, waterfalls, beaches, temples, and a host of eco-tourism wonders.

The three provinces are also famous for having some of the best-preserved French colonial architecture in Indochina. Together, Kampot and Battambang are home to more than 1,000 French colonial buildings.

In 2018, Battambang, Kratie, and Kampot received more than 2.6 million local and international visitors combined.

The partnership is likely to boost Cambodia’s bid to declare Battambang, Kratie, and Kampot ‘World Heritage Sites’. The application, which was submitted to Unesco two years ago, is still being reviewed.

Aside from tourism, the French government, through AFD, is also helping Cambodia improve its fisheries, agriculture, energy, and health sectors.

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