The Ministry of Tourism has chosen Battambang city to become a smoke-free city by the end of 2020 to promote public health and develop a smoke-free tourism sector.
Ministry spokesman Top Sopheak yesterday said the decision to turn Battambang city into a smoke-free environment will aid in efforts to turn the city green and clean up its environment.
He noted this is important because the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts plans to seek heritage city status for Battambang from Unesco.
“We set the target to be smoke-free, but it does not mean that there is no smoking areas in the whole of Battambang city,” he said. “We don’t want to have air pollution due to tobacco smoke in the tourism industry, such as at hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and resorts; it can affect tourists who don’t like tobacco smoke.”
Mr Sopheak added that the ministry conducted a similar campaign in Siem Reap city and will push it next to Kampot city and Kratie city, which the ministry also plans to list as heritage cities.
Mom Kong, executive director of Cambodia Movement for Health, said making major tourist cities smoke-free will influence others cities to follow suit.
“Smoke-free cities aid the well-being of people and tourists,” he said. “It is very important to enforce laws and regulations, as well as the guidelines for this smoke-free environment.”
The Ministry of Tourism and the Battambang provincial administration on Thursday organised a workshop and award ceremony to recognise outstanding business owners who have already gone smoke-free.
Hor Sarun, an undersecretary of state at the ministry, said the ministry monitored and evaluated the smoke-free environment in the tourism sector in some hotels and restaurants in Battambang city in November.
Of 44 hotels evaluated, 22 hit the smoke-free target, while 13 out of 26 restaurants accomplished the same, he noted.
According to a Ministry of Tourism’s report, in the first ten months of this year, Cambodia received about 5.3 million international tourists, an increase of 9.7 percent from last year.
According to ministry estimations, Cambodia will receive 7.5 million international tourists in 2020 and 15 million in 2030.