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Building bridges to South Asia

Sum Manet / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
The northeastern Indian state of Assam is famous for its nature and wildlife, which includes rhinos. Reuters

India is a priority market for the local tourism and aviation industry and more needs to be done to bolster the number of flights connecting the kingdom to the South Asian giant, a high-ranking government representative recently said.

On Tuesday, Tourism Minister Thong Khon told Pramila Rani Brahma, the Minister of Environment and Forest for the Indian state of Assam, that Cambodia remains interested in boosting the number of Indian passengers travelling to the country and asked investors to consider possibilities in the local aviation sector to increase the number of flights connecting Cambodia and India.

“India remains a target market for us,” he said. “The number of Indians visiting the kingdom is still small in comparison with other nationalities, but we believe there is a lot of potential there, and will work hard to see those number rise.”

Both sides agreed that the northeastern Indian state of Assam could play a key role in ramping up the number of Indian tourists visiting the kingdom due to its proximity to Southeast Asia.

Ho Vandy, the secretary-general of the Cambodian National Tourism Alliance, welcomed the remarks and commitments made by both officials and said that any initiatives that seek to expand the country’s tourism market is good news.

“Our good relationship with India will continue to boost the number of people travelling between both countries, for business or pleasure,” he said.

“We generally have a model for development in the tourism industry that is working really well, helping us achieve quick growth in passenger traffic.”

In 2016, the number of foreign tourists visiting the kingdom grew by five percent year-on-year, which resulted in revenues of $3.4 billion – nearly 13 percent of the country’s GDP – and the creation of 620,000 direct jobs.

During the first 10 months of 2017, Cambodia received 4.3 million international tourists, up 10.4 percent compared with the same period in 2016. According to official forecasts, the kingdom will welcome 5.6 million foreign tourists by the end of the year.

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