The government has chosen Preah Sihanouk province as the host of a number of major tourism-related events to be held in late 2022 and early 2023, in a bid to promote the tourism potential in the coastal Southern Tourism Corridor.

Cambodia has been selected to host the World-Bays Club’s 2022 World Congress on December 9-14, the 9th Sea Festival on December 9-11, along with the 51st Meeting of the GMS Tourism Working Group (TWG-51) and 2023 Mekong Tourism Forum, all of which will be held in Preah Sihanouk.

Provincial deputy governor Long Dimanche told The Post that with its recognition as a “rising star” in the southwestern region and a hot travel destination with a major coastal town, Preah Sihanouk was a natural choice as the host of these events.

He described Preah Sihanouk as an important economic pole for Cambodia, where the government has heavily invested in infrastructure to increase its attractiveness and potential as well as to improve its image on the international scene and present a favourable portrait at each major event.

“The big events set to be held in the near future are very useful in promoting a city, especially an urbanising tourism region like Preah Sihanouk. Major events are held pretty much once a month in nearby countries’ tourism cities to promote travel nationwide,” he said.

Thourn Sinan, chairman of IMCT Co Ltd and Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia chapter, pointed to three main reasons as to why the Ministry of Tourism and the government chooses to organise national and international events in Preah Sihanouk.

These are: its provincial capital Sihanoukville’s distinction as an “international city”; the province’s designation as “multi-purpose”; and its position at the southern end of the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville Expressway, which is set to be soft-launched on October 1.

“Organising these events – in addition to encouraging tourism-related businesses such as hotels, restaurants, food-associated ones, et cetera – can also raise the profile and prestige of Cambodia,” he said, noting that in the past, such events were exclusively held in Siem Reap and Phnom Penh.

In January, Preah Sihanouk also played host to the 40th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2022), which was attended by, among others, the ASEAN tourism ministers and leaders, World Tourism Organisation, ASEAN Tourism Association, PATA, ASEAN-China Centre, ASEAN-Japan Centre, ASEAN-Korea Centre, World Travel and Tourism Council, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia, and US-ASEAN Business Council.