Government Launches Mondulkiri Tourism Master Plan to Boost the Province’s Economy

Government officially launched Mondulkiri's Tourism Development Master Plan on April 11, to boost the attractivity of Cambodia’s largest province. Photo: Chy Chomrong

It plans to turn the province into Cambodia’s fourth economic polar

PHNOM PENH – Government officially launched Mondulkiri's Tourism Development Master Plan on April 11, to boost the attractivity of Cambodia’s largest province -also the least densely populated one- specifically focusing on both tourism and agricultural industries.

Recognizing the potential of the Northeast, the government -through the Ministry of Economy and Finance- decided to launch the Mondulkiri Provincial Development Master Plan 2021-2035 to turn the province into Cambodia's fourth economic pole, after Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Siem Reap, in line with the vision of the national development.

The development of the Northeast region will boost Cambodia's economic growth to another level, the government said.

While developing the province’s economy, the government aims to preserve the natural resources and the indigenous cultural heritage, as a way to ensure maximum fruitful socio-economic development for all.

Ministry of Tourism Spokesman Chuk Chumno said that the long-term master plan for tourism development in Mondulkiri will help the northeastern province become an international eco-tourism destination

“By 2035, the number of international tourists visiting Mondulkiri will increase to about 900,000 annually, while the number of domestic tourists will increase to about two million, creating about 80,000 jobs and generating about $500 million in direct income,” he said.

Chumno added the master plan was also designed to turn the province into a major supplier of natural flowers, vegetables, fruits and meat for both domestic and international markets.

Ky Sereyvath, an economic analyst and the director of the Royal Academy of Cambodian Center for China Studies, said it’s a great master plan for the province as Mondulkiri has a rich eco-tourism potential and is home to a wide range of ethnic cultures.

He explained that boosting the economy by encouraging local people to grow fruits, flowers, vegetables and livestock is a good mechanism to generate income for people. It will also help supply the growing tourism industry by providing food and accommodation to visitors.

“Encouraging the local production is one of the main components to boost the economy and people’s livelihood,” Sereyvath said, “It is preferable than keeping on importing products from other countries.”

The economic analyst believes the master plan will provide fruitful outcomes, not only to local communities, but also to investors who will develop tourism infrastructures and services, such as hotels, restaurants, boutiques or transportation, across the province.

According to a Ministry of Economy and Finance’s press release, issued on April 11, the Mondulkiri Tourism Development Master Plan 2021-2035 will join with other nationwide-tourism development strategies to promote a sustainable recovery of the sector, which heavily suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic, with a drop in international tourism.

As for now, Cambodia’s economy is based on three main economic and geographic poles: Phnom Penh, which is the center of gravity for industrial, commercial and services activities; the coastal city of Sihanoukville, which host Cambodia’s main commercial port and one of the main special economic zones being part of the China’s Belt and Road Initiative; and Siem Reap, which is the beating heart of the Cambodian tourism industry, also focusing on handicrafts and agriculture.

According to a Ministry of Tourism report, 5,031 local tourists visited Mondulkiri in the first weekend of March alone, while the rest of Cambodia received nearly 200,000 visitors during the same period.

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