The tourism ministry has said that it expects to welcome more international tourists from Vietnam and Thailand, along Cambodia’s southern corridor, after the Kingdom’s neighbouring counties recently reopened to tourism, and predicted that number would increase further with proper management of coastal areas.
At a dissemination workshop on legal standards for coastal management and development on May 30 at Kep Provincial Hall, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said that the proper management and development of coastal areas will entice more visitors, adding that the number of tourists has already increased overall due to the coastal area successfully luring more domestic tourists.
He added that Cambodia has been cooperating with neighbouring Vietnam and Thailand to promote the movement of tourists along the multinational coast, after the latter two countries reopened to tourists.
“In our coastal areas, there has also been development within the Southern Corridor framework, adjacent to Vietnam and Thailand. Cambodia will be able to attract more tourists from Vietnam by connecting the route from the border with Kampot and Kep,” he said.
“High-speed ferries will connect tourist destinations from Koh Tral to the Kampot and Kep ports,” Khon said, using the local name for Phu Quoc, Vietnam’s largest island.
“At the same time, tourists from Thailand can also travel from the south to Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk and other provinces along the coast, as well as take part in ecotourism,” he added.
Khon added that in the context of the global Covid-19 crisis, as well as the conflict in Ukraine and rising oil prices, ASEAN member states are at present focusing on attracting regional visitors.
Nonetheless, he reminded tourism-related businesses to improve the quality of their services and maintain reasonable prices, as well as to improve sanitation of the coastal areas to make them more attractive to visitors.
Kep provincial governor Som Piseth told The Post that, due to the reopening of neighbouring countries, “we are studying … whether our tourism inflows will be mainly bilateral, regional or international”, following the recommendation of the tourism ministry and permanent deputy chairman of the National Committee on Coastal Area Management and Development.
“As it stands now in Kep province, we have largely only been receiving local tourists,” he said.
Kampot provincial Department of Tourism director Soy Sinol told The Post that, pre-Covid-19, the two international checkpoints – Prek Chak in Russey Srok Khang Lech commune and Tan Hon in Prek Kroes commune – both located in Kampong Trach district, received about 180,000 international tourists a year.
“Thailand is now fully reopening, but Vietnam is not yet fully reopening. We expect that when Vietnam does fully reopen, the influx of tourists through the land border will increase again,” he said.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy said that prior to the Covid-19 crisis, the number of tourists visiting Cambodia from neighbouring countries was between 10 and 25 per cent of the six million international tourists received annually.
“I believe that from the autumn onwards, more tourists will come to Cambodia through the Cambodia-Thailand corridor and the corridor with Vietnam. And if Laos reopens, there will be more movement between three neighbouring countries, and there will be great mutual benefit,” he said.
The tourism ministry said that Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand have recently launched the Cambodia-Vietnam-Thailand Economic Corridor (CVTEC), which encourages the movement of tourists between the three countries.
The provinces and cities involved in the CVTEC include Chonburi, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat provinces in Thailand; Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep provinces in Cambodia; and Kien Giang province and Can Tho city in Vietnam.