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Aeon fair a window into Japan

May Kunmakara / Khmer Times Share:
The poster for the fair shows Mount Fuji. Supplied

The first Japan Travel Fair, an initiative of the Embassy of Japan in Cambodia and the National Tourism Organization of Japan, will kick off this weekend at Aeon Mall in Phnom Penh.

Visitors will learn about vacationing in the East Asian economic giant, including the most memorable spots to visit in the Land of the Rising Sun. Among other activities, people will be able to try on Yukatas (a traditional Japanese garment), learn the art of origami or attend a “ninja show”.

The event will take place from November 11 to 12 at Aeon Mall’s Daylight Plaza.

Hironori Suzuki, Counsellor of the Embassy of Japan, said the new fair aims to further promote Cambodian people’s interest in visiting Japan.

“We hope that, through the fair, Cambodian people will get more detailed information of Japanese tourism and feel more interested in Japan,” he said.

“Since the launch of regular direct flights between Japan and Cambodia in September 2016, we have seen progress in our bilateral relations in many areas.

“For example, this year’s number of Cambodian tourists to Japan rose by approximately 1.5 times compared to the same period of last year.”

Kong Sophearak, the director of the Ministry of Tourism’s Statistics Department, said the fact that the event has been organised in the first place is indicative of a closer relation between Cambodia and Japan.

“We’re very pleased to see the fair because it will be another boost for the promotion of the tourism industry between our two countries,” he said.

“Now Japanese tourists are number seven in terms of nationalities visiting the kingdom, even ahead of South Korea.”

All Nippon Airways (ANA) started the first direct flight service between both nations in September last year, connecting Tokyo’s Narita Airport to Phnom Penh International Airport.

Ho Vandy, the secretary-general of Cambodia’s National Tourism Alliance, pointed out that Japan has been an outstanding partner to the kingdom in helping with development efforts.

“We have a close relationship and I’m not just talking about the governments, but also the people,” he said.

“Since the launch of the Tokyo-Phnom Penh flight, Japan has helped in the visa facilitation process to make it easier for people to travel between both nations, including businesspeople and investors. This is a very good sign.

“The travel fair sends a clear message to third countries: Japan believes in us as a trade partner and seeks ever closer ties with the kingdom.”

Yamazaki Norimasa, the general manager of ANA in Cambodia, told Khmer Times that tourism between both nations has peaked since the launch of the direct flights.

“We see a lot of potential. Since we started operations last year the number of Japanese tourists is increasing very rapidly. We also hope to see more Cambodians visiting Japan,” he said.

“In the future, I believe our flights will be used by a lot of Japanese investors seeking opportunities in the kingdom.”   

According to data from the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia welcomed more than 60,000 Japanese tourists during the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 8 percent compared with the same period last year.

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