Ministry Prepares Master Plan For Tourism Development

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Preah Sihanouk’s Otres Beach, regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in Cambodia, was selected last year as a coastal master plan template.

The Ministry of Tourism has prepared a master plan for the development of the industry in provinces and cities to attract investment in the sector and create more products for tourists.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon set out the plan at the first quarter meeting at the ministry last Thursday. He advised tourism officials at all levels to continue establishing new products and push resorts to keep their surroundings clean.

“We also have to push human capital in tourism, promote Cambodian tourism both locally and internationally to respond to the current tourism trend as well as push the local tourist movement,” said the Minister. “Forcing the use of information communication technology to manage the tourism industry and build good hospitality movements is urgently needed.”

Tith Chantha, secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, said yesterday that the master plan in the city and provinces has already been implemented. He said the master plan included infrastructure development, clean and green resorts, well managed social order, widening and building new roads to reach resorts, offering good services, quality, hospitality and manpower in the tourism sector. “Some areas of our master plan we have updated and improved, including in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh cities and Preah Sihanouk province,” he added.

Chantha said that last year more than 10 million local tourists visited resorts – a number that seemed to be rising by five to ten percent a year. He said the master plan to develop tourism sites will attract an increasing number of local tourists as their incomes rise.

Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Cambodian chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said the master plan is necessary for the country. He said there should be a clear plan for tourism in each city and province and the implementation must be transparent.

“The master plan for tourism will push development in line with the country’s development plan because the master plan has been thoroughly written with an outlook in each area for the next three to five years. I strongly support having a master plan for tourism development,” he said.

Tourism Ministry’s Chantha said that Cambodia has to improve all segments in the tourism sector and attract more foreign investors. He said that foreign investment in tourism represents about half of all investments in Cambodia.

“We have inserted the master plan for tourism development into the provincial and city master plan. We have many areas to work on – such as improving the quality of services and getting better staff that are trained,” added the secretary.

Last year, Cambodia selected Preah Sihanouk’s Otres Beach as a coastal master plan template. The area is viewed as one of the most beautiful bays in the world, with 3km of white sand and crystal-clear sea, and bays and beaches that are clean.

In January and February this year, the Kingdom welcomed about a million tourists, a rise in a year of about 12 percent. However the country needs growth of at least 10 percent year-on-year to reach the target of 7 million foreign tourists in 2020, the ministry says.

This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.