Indian Weddings Offer Rich Pickings For Cambodian Tourism

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Cambodia is trying to attract more Indian couples to tie the knot in the Kingdom. KHMER TIMES / SUPPLIED

Cambodia has the potential to set itself up as a premium wedding destination for India’s middle class who have a taste for opulence and extravagant weddings abroad, according to Indian ambassador Naveen Srivasta.

Srivasta spoke of the opportunity at a meeting last week with Tourism Minister Thong Khon when he discussed the benefits of direct flights between Cambodia and India.

“Siem Reap’s Angkor Park is an attractive wedding tourism destination for Indians because of its similar culture and traditions,” he said. “It will bring Indians with their families, relatives, friends, and guests to participate in weddings and they can travel to coastal Preah Sihanouk province for their honeymoon.”

The pervading influence of Hinduism, Buddhism and Indian architecture are borne out by the magnificent structures at Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm and other religious and historical sites in Cambodia.

In October, Cambodia’s State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) and India’s aviation officials agreed to open up the direct route for commercial airlines to operate. The SSCA said then that a memorandum of understanding between Cambodia and India for the direct flight route had been in existence since 2002, with the latest agreement intended to further legitimise the deal.

In the agreement, both countries agreed to allow direct flights from Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to New Delhi and select Indian cities.

The Tourism Minister welcomed the Indian diplomat’s remarks and called for more cooperation on tourism between their countries. He said that India was a religious tourism destination for Cambodians.  “Cambodia will soon conduct tourism promotions at main cities in India about wedding tourism destinations,” said Khon.

The wedding industry has become a multimillion-dollar business in India. Indians have a never-ending desire for the most lavish wedding, India’s online news says. Internationally, Malaysia, Thailand, the Maldives, Oman, Dubai, and Sri Lanka are the preferred wedding destinations for Indians.

According to the Bangkok Post, Indian families can spend between $150,000 and $2 million on weddings in Thailand. Direct flights between India and Cambodia have been discussed for years. Khon said the government would urge local airline companies to open up the route.

Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, said direct flights linking India and Cambodia would be good because Indians were among the foreign tourists who spent a lot on travel.  He said Cambodia’s rich cultural traditions for tourists were suited not only to wedding ceremonies, but also for pre-wedding, post-wedding, and wedding anniversary ceremonies.

Cambodia sets to attract 100,000 Indian tourists by 2020. Last year, 46,000 Indian tourists visited Cambodia.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.