August 25, 2023
PHNOM PENH – Siem Reap is tipped to shine once again as Cambodia’s “northern star” for tourists as the Ministry of Tourism launched the “Siem Reap Tourism Promotion and Attraction Strategic Plan 2023-26”.
The objective is to draw both domestic and international travellers back to this northern jewel.
Tourism minister Thong Khon revealed the plan on August 20. Drawing from the Siem Reap Tourism Development Master Plan 2021-35, the systematic plan focuses on outreach and promotion. It aims to strengthen Siem Reap’s reputation, adapting to ever-changing market dynamics and demands.
“Our vision is to attract significant tourism market sources for Siem Reap, launching 21 specific implementation activities between 2023 and 2026,” he said.
The goal is to bounce back from the pandemic’s impact. By 2026, the ministry hopes to welcome approximately three million international and four million domestic tourists. This would bring the figures to, if not higher than, pre-pandemic levels.
Ministry spokesperson Top Sopheak declined to comment, referring reporters to Aing Sovannroath, head of the General Department of Tourism Industry Management, who could not be reached.
Ho Vandy, an adviser to the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, welcomed the initiative. He sees it as a collective push from all service providers in the tourism sector, along with key authorities, to rejuvenate Siem Reap.
“We need a strategic plan for a gradual rise in visitors. Given the global chaos, an immediate increase is unrealistic. However, geographical areas without major issues, like neighbouring countries with whom Cambodia maintains good relations, can help us boost tourist numbers again,” he said.
Vandy believes that the strategy offers immediate benefits to those with interests vested in the tourism sector, both private and public.
“When private entities earn from tourist services, they secure capital. Meanwhile, our civil servants receive their wages,” he said.
Furthermore, he noted, it indirectly favours those offering services not strictly related to tourists.