PHNOM PENH: Cambodia’s tourism industry is a vital part of the country’s economy, providing jobs and generating revenue. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the Chinese tourist slowdown have had a devastating impact on the sector, with tourist arrivals plummeting in recent years.
In a recent keynote address at the Tourism Forum, ‘Where is Cambodia’s Tourism Industry Heading?’, organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (AmCham), Minister of Tourism Sok Soken highlighted the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.
He noted that the government is working on a new tourism strategy that will involve greater engagement with stakeholders across the sector.
“We will start to see the implementation in the next month or two months,” Soken said. “We have a government-private sector forum on the 13th of November, and our main activities from here on end will be the collaboration to ensure the numerous issues that have been discussed are addressed so that the government will have time to respond.”
Interviewed with Estatedia, Mr.Lor Vichet, Vice President of the Cambodia-Chinese Commerce Association (CCCA) stressed the importance of collective action from all stakeholders to revive the tourism sector.
“Even though Cambodia is the first country in ASEAN to fully open its borders to international tourists, tourist arrival numbers haven’t reflected the true potential of Cambodia’s tourism sector,” Vichet said. “Collective actions are a must to streamline activities and coordinate concerted efforts to ignite the tourism sector.”
Vichet emphasized that policymakers must involve all relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process to ensure that shared goals are achieved.
“The most important message I would like to send across is keeping all relevant stakeholders involved as an integral part of the decision-making process so that they are fully committed to the implementation of shared goals and shared objectives,” he said. “We should never ever mistake that sound policymaking is a success, but it is rather the sound implementation and involvement of all relevant stakeholders that will contribute to a sustainable success that will pay dividends to the parties.”
Vichet’s message is clear: Cambodia’s tourism industry can only recover if all stakeholders work together. The government must create a conducive environment for businesses to operate, while the private sector must innovate and develop new products and services to attract tourists. By working together, Cambodia can position itself as a world-renowned tourist destination.