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Minister lays out Sihanoukville tourism plans

Sum Manet / Khmer Times Share:
A beach in Sihanoukville. KT/Valinda Aim

The Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has announced plans to strengthen the image of Sihanoukville’s coast as a tourism destination, with authorities expecting the province to surpass the two-million mark in tourist arrivals in 2017.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, speaking during a meeting on the tourism sector on Tuesday, said efforts will revolve around bolstering the image of the area as a clean and green destination, adding that “the coast is the most attractive destination for Preah Sihanouk province”.

“Authorities will focus their efforts on maintaining and improving our beautiful beaches, which are the main attraction of Sihanoukville,” he said.

“Promoting a clean city is key in our strategy to attract more visitors.

“Another priority is to improve the quality of services and tourism products by ensuring businesses have the required licences and permits,” Mr Khon added.

The minister said the next step will be to select a few “model” villages and beaches that others can follow when it comes to sustainable development and cleanliness.

Another key aspect of the ministry’s plan, as revealed by Mr Khon, is further implementation of the “China Ready” strategy, which was devised to bump up the number of Chinese visitors to the country.

He said businesses should encourage their staff, especially those who deal with customers directly, to take Chinese and English language courses.

Ho Vandy, the secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, said everyone has a role to play in helping the provincial government achieve its tourism goals.

“Everyone needs to work together, both in the public and private sectors, to boost our tourism,” he said.

During the first nine months of the year, tourist arrivals in Preah Sihanouk province reached 1.5 million, an increase of 22.39 percent compared with the same period in 2016.

Of those visitors, 1.1 million were locals and 400,000 were international tourists, with Chinese travellers ¬– the number one nationality when it comes to foreign visitors – accounting for 90,000 of them.

Preah Sihanouk province is expected to receive about two million tourists by the end of the year, a 20 percent, year-on-year increase.

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