Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 1 formally approved a 2021-2025 three-phased national tourism roadmap and a 2021-2035 Siem Reap provincial tourism development master plan to navigate the sector’s emergence from the Covid-19 pandemic and support its recovery.
Through the strategies put forth by the two guidelines, Siem Reap could attract 10.9 million domestic tourists by 2023 and 7.5 million international tourists by 2025, creating 940,000 jobs and generating an additional $6 billion in revenue for the province’s economy, the Ministry of Tourism said in an April 1 press release.
The master plan prescribes seven primary strategic areas for the province’s tourism development – prioritisation of tourist sites; new tourism products; promotion; quality and sustainability; environmental management; infrastructure and connectivity; and administration.
It sets out 44 strategies, 136 implementation actions for the short-, medium- and long-term, with 20 priority action plans.
The roadmap will serve as a compass to ensure timely intervention and to turn the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis into opportunities for nationwide tourism reforms over the next five years, the ministry said.
In its 2021 first phase (Resilience & Restart), it will addresses risk management with a “new-normal” approach and a revival plan.
The 2022-2023 second phase (Recovery) will grapple with post-Covid-19 recovery and crisis-impact minimisation.
During this two-year stage, the government will set up a range of financial incentives to support priority projects in the tourism industry and encourage innovative business models, in order to sharpen the sector’s competitiveness regionally and globally.
The government will continue to provide professional training for the tourism industry – with emphasis on digital diffusion and upskilling – consistent with post-Covid-19 market demand, and promote the Kingdom as a safe tourist destination, the ministry said.
And the 2024-2025 final phase (Relaunch) will lay the foundation for a new future for tourism, one that the ministry noted will be sustainable, quality and smart.
The roadmap sets out a total of nine strategies, 49 strategic activities and 180 elaborated strategic activities, along with 17 priority projects.
The prime minister said the roadmap and master plan outline a “clear vision” for the restoration and promotion of tourism in Cambodia post-Covid-19, according to the opening of the release.
Hun Sen pointed out that fallout from the pandemic led to an 80.2 per cent reduction in international tourists visiting the Kingdom last year and a drop of around 20 per cent in domestic tourism, leading to a $3 billion loss in revenue generated by the sector.
Ministry statistics show that the Kingdom welcomed 1,306,143 international tourists in 2020, compared to 6,610,592 in 2019.
The prime minister added: “Cambodia’s tourism sector is ready to recover, possibly in a U-shape for international tourism and V-shape for domestic.”
Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan told The Post that the two plans presented a viable recovery pathway for the Kingdom’s Covid-19-embattled tourism industry.
“If we follow this roadmap, I believe we’ll achieve our goals, or at least draw closer to them. I am thrilled and I give a big hand for the preparation of the roadmap, a work that showcases the close attention that the ministry and the government are paying,” he said.