Cambodia Takes Lead in Tourism Revival

France has picked Cambodia as a model for the development of tourism with ASEAN countries recovering from the Covid pandemic. Photo from Tourism Ministry

French partnership paves way for ASEAN recovery



PHNOM PENH--France has picked Cambodia as a model for the development of tourism with ASEAN countries recovering from the Covid pandemic.



The move was announced when new French Ambassador to Cambodia Pellet Jacques met Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon on Feb. 21.



Jacques said the French government aims to increase tourism cooperation with ASEAN within the EU-ASEAN and Franco-ASEAN frameworks.



He expected that Cambodia, as the chair of ASEAN, would take the lead to set an example of development for other member countries.



The French government has also established two tourism vocational training schools, in Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville province. These will contribute to building human resources to be ready to receive tourists when the situation improves.



The ambassador noted that Cambodia is a safe tourism destination and said he would help promote the country.



Khon asked the French government to call for direct flights from France to Cambodia to make it convenient for tourists and for Cambodia to be the main destination French people chose for a vacation.



Tourism Ministry spokesman Top Sopheak, said choosing Cambodia as a model partner will make it a leader in tourism cooperation because the country holds the chair of ASEAN. This will promote the country’s potential among ASEAN members and the EU.



“ASEAN chairmanship in 2022 and a successful vaccination campaign make it easily for international tourists to visit,” Sopheak said.



“It’s vital for Cambodia to tie in relations between ASEAN and the EU. That’s why France chose Cambodia as a model partner.”



He said that in 2019, French tourists were among the top ten nationalities to visit Cambodia, with a total of 164,117. In 2020, only 43,174 came and in 2021 it was 3,642 because of the COVID-19 outbreak. He believed that when the pandemic situation improves, there will be more international visitors, especially from France.



Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents said it was a positive sign for Cambodia to partner with many countries, especially to open direct flights from France. This was a challenge because fewer French tourists were flying to Cambodia.



“It’s a good sign to restore Cambodian tourism after COVID-19 destroyed us.” Sivlin said, “The main obstacle is the lack of direct flights.”



She believed that with this enhanced partnership, Cambodian tourism will recover and provide national economic growth and many jobs for local people.



“By getting direct flights in the future, we will not only get French tourists but also Europeans as a whole,” she said.    


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