Ministry Sets Sights on Muslim Tourism

Post-Covid travel package planned

PHNOM PENH –  The Tourism Ministry is studying the possibility of setting up a Muslim tour package to attract more visitors for the time after Covid-19.

This would involve Muslims travelling for business or leisure without compromising their faith, the ministry said.

Cambodia has flights from Muslim countries. In addition to Muslims visiting Cambodia, the country has more than 670,000 Muslims.

This has led the ministry to consider the Islamic tourism package. Ministry spokesman Top Sopheak said the package would be very different from other initiatives because it would be aimed at tourists based on their religious observance.

The ministry is not yet able to  give a start date but is studying the possibility of receiving Muslim tourists and the availability of suitable tourism businesses.

"We need a lot of preparation because Muslim tourism is different from other packages. They have a lot of needs. Food, accommodation and places of worship are different from ordinary tourists," he said. "So, the primary step is to reach out to the private sector."

This package will focus on Muslims in Cambodia first. If it is implemented smoothly and attractively, the ministry would create bigger packages for visitors from abroad.

The pandemic has hit the tourism sector hard. Cambodia welcomed 108,000 international tourists in the first half of 2021, down 91 percent on the same period of 2020.

The country is also looking into launching a program to attract international tourists who have been vaccinated for Covid-19, starting in the fourth quarter of this year.

In March, Prime Minister Hun Sen approved the "roadmap" to restore tourism during and in post-Covid-19 times, which includes the master plan for tourism development in Siem Reap province 2021-2035.

In this plan, the government has outlined seven strategies. These include promoting the development of new tourism products, quality and sustainability of tourism development, environmental protection and infrastructure.

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