The government through the Ministry of Tourism is set to give a major boost to the country’s tourism sector to bolster the economy, said Prime Minister Hun Sen yesterday.
In the premier’s message on World Tourism Day, which was celebrated in Kep province, Mr Hun Sen said the tourism sector continues to contribute to Cambodia’s economy.
“In recognition of the contribution tourism has made, the government through the Tourism Ministry will continue to develop the tourism market, develop tourism products, and further promote new areas like youth tourism, urban tourism and shopping tourism,” said Mr Hun Sen.
“Currently, the tourism sector is the third biggest export industry in the world after the chemical and oil industries,” he added. “Tourism brings hope, prosperity and fosters people-to-people relations in the world.”
This year’s theme for World Tourism Day was “Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development”.
“Tourism can contribute to all the three crucial areas of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – and each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” said Mr Hun Sen.
“Not only does the sector contribute to economic growth, it also improves the quality of people’s lives. It can bolster environmental protection, champion diverse cultural heritage, and strengthen peace in the world,” added the premier.
According to the United Nations’ World Tourism Organisation, in 2016 around 1.2 billion travellers crossed international borders and the figure will be up to 1.8 billion travellers before 2030.
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, told Khmer Times that Mr Hun Sen’s message would push all the relevant stakeholders to boost the country’s tourism sector.
“We have to work together, both in the public and private sectors, to boost our tourism,” Mr Vandy said.
More than 2.6 million foreign tourists visited Cambodia in the first six months of the year, representing a 12.8 percent rise over the same period last year, according to a report from the Tourism Ministry.
International tourist arrivals by air rose to 1,605,664, representing a 23 percent increase in the first six months. Arrivals by land and waterways rose slightly to 1,057,015, of whom 967,490 came by land and 89,525 by boat.