With hundreds of local and foreign businesses showcasing their best products and services to throngs of local and international tourists, industry insiders expect the Cambodia Travel Mart – which will take place this weekend – to be a significant milestone in pushing forward the country’s tourism sector.
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The first Cambodia Travel Mart, which will take place in Siem Reap from November 17-19, is organised by the Ministry of Tourism and will see travel agencies, restaurants, hotels and airlines coming together to promote their best products and help boost the number of tourists visiting the kingdom.
The tourism business forum, one of the main events of the weekend, will attract more than 500 international companies, according to Thoun Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), which sponsors the fair.
“It’s a good opportunity to show foreign tourists what we have and how far we’ve come,” Mr Sinan said.
“Some foreign tourists have only known Cambodia through word of mouth, but have never actually been here, so it’s an excellent opportunity to show them our potential.”
Entrepreneurs need to make sure they are bringing their best products and services to make sure they leave a mark on visitors, Mr Sinan added.
Luu Meng, co-chair of the Government-Private Sector Tourism Working Group, was also upbeat about the event.
“Through this fair, travel agencies, hotels and restaurants can create new connections and expand their network beyond our country,” he said.
“Many foreign businesspeople will attend. When they go back to their own countries, they will hopefully create new tour packages to the kingdom.”
The fair will be an invaluable asset in helping the government achieve its goal of attracting seven million foreign tourists by 2020, Mr Meng added.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said in June that the event promises to be one of the best platforms in Southeast Asia to promote the region’s tourism potential.
“Cambodia Travel Mart 2017 will serve to promote not just Cambodia, but the whole region.
“We encourage all tour operators, companies and tourism associations to participate in the event,” Mr Khon said.
Cambodia attracted five million foreign tourists in 2016. This year, the government expects that number to rise to 5.6 million.