The government has highlighted seven key areas that it wants to see improved in Siem Reap before the city is nominated to be a candidate in the 2018 ASEAN Clean Tourist City Contest.
Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said on Monday at a meeting between the public and private sectors that Siem Reap city had to improve the quality of its services for tourists and offer its best hospitality to them. He pointed out Siem Reap needed to have more public toilets, gym zones, parks, green zones, parking lots, pedestrian ways, and an efficient waste management system before it could be considered as a candidate for the 2018 ASEAN Tourist City Contest.
“The authorities have to be stricter to prevent vendors from using pedestrian ways to set up their stalls,” said Khon, while also singling out the bars in the city’s Pub Street – the main drag for late night entertainment – saying “better public order” was needed.
Commenting on the lack of toilets, the Minister said: “More are needed for tourists in public places and they must comply with universal standards of hygiene. They must be located near proper places, like tourist information centres, parking lots and commercial centres.”
Early in the year, the Ministry of Tourism announced a contest for the public to rate city services in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang, Sihanoukville, Kep, Kampot and Kampong Cham. Khon, who is also chairman of the National Committee for Clean City Assessment, said this contest was in preparation for Cambodia to enter the 1st ASEAN Clean Tourist City Contest.
“Through the launch of the ASEAN Clean Tourist City Standard, ASEAN member countries have determined to continue developing all tourist cities into clean, green, attractive and competitive cities with sustainable development,” added Khon. “These are the key basic factors to ensure the sustainability of tourism growth and to create a foundation for the integration of Cambodia into ASEAN.”
Siem Reap Governor Khem Bunsong, said that the provincial administration will issue an ultimatum to all vendors to remove their stalls that have been set up on sidewalks and pedestrian ways. “They must do it by early October or we will take action,” he said.
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, said that since Asean integration began, it has bolstered the living standards of people and the Kingdom’s national image. “The competition would provide a vision for Cambodians, at high and low levels, to improve on clean cities, clean resorts, and good service,” he said. “All senior and local officials must commit themselves to making a tourism policy and strategy a reality.”
According to the Tourism Ministry, in the first seven months of this year Siem Reap province welcomed about 3.78 million tourists, up 12 percent compared with the same period last year.