The Ministry of Tourism has been training and strengthening the capacity of tour guides in Preah Sihanouk province, with help from leaders of provincial coastal tourism departments and 80 participants from universities and institutions in the province.
Ministry under secretary of state Pak Sokhom said that the training was to help promote human resources in the tourism sector to strengthen the capacity of professional tour guides.
“The government is focusing on the development of all sectors, including tourism regarded as green gold which contributes to economic and social development, increasing national income, increasing employment, attracting investment and contributing to poverty reduction of the people,” state news agency AKP reported him as saying.
“The tourism sector has contributed to promoting and preserving natural and cultural properties, contributing to reducing global warming and being an important catalyst in promoting globalisation and integration in the region,” he said.
“The number of tourists increasing and demand for services is also increasing, so professional tourism training is a major factor in providing a reliable and comfortable service to tourists.
“Cambodia needs professional, responsible and ethical professional tourism guides.”
Tri Chhiv, deputy managing director of the tourism industry section of the Tourism Ministry, said the training of tour guides was taking place with the cooperation of the ministry, Sihanoukville’s tourism department and NGOs.
“The first training course was attended by 33 trainees, included female students,” he said.
Of these, 15 for trained in English, 17 in Chinese and one in French.
Official results showed that 24 candidates passed, including 10 in English and 14 in Chinese. Four months of study included three months of theoretical field study and a one-month internship with a tourism company.
According to statistics from the provincial tourism department, tourists arriving in Sihanoukville in the first six months of this year reached nearly 250,000, up 10.65 percent, of which Chinese tourists were 58,943, up 132.43 percent over the same period in 2016.
The strong growth represents good job opportunities for Cambodian youths.
Last year, Cambodia received about 5 million international tourists, with a 5 percent increase in national income of $3.4 billion, equivalent to 13.5 percent of gross domestic product.
Tourism directly employed about 620,000 people, equivalent to 13 percent of total employment.
In the first six months of this year, Cambodia received 2.6 million international tourists, up 12.8 percent over the same period of 2016.
As a 2020 vision, Cambodia expects to receive about seven million international tourists, earning about $5 billion and generating nearly a million direct jobs.