Cambodia is preparing to host the 51st Meeting of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Tourism Working Group (TWG-51) and the Mekong Tourism Forum 2023 in Preah Sihanouk province in late April.

The minister of tourism expects that the event will be an opportunity to help promote and attract more international tourists.

At a March 27 inter-ministerial committee meeting to prepare for the events, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said he considered the event a ‘golden opportunity’ to attract more international visitors by sharing the Kingdom’s tourism potential to the regional delegates who will attend.

“The inter-ministerial committee must work together to ensure that every aspect of the event is a success. This is a golden opportunity to present the country’s prestige, so we cannot neglect any area. Our hospitality – including accommodation, food and transportation – must be of the highest standard, along with the security we provide. We must organise entertainment for our guests, including performances and visits to tourist attractions,” he added.

Khon said it was of the utmost importance that the attendees gained an understanding of the key points of this year’s “Visit Cambodia 2023” campaign, and learned about the Kingdom’s preparations to host the SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games.

Thong Rathasak, head of the ministry’s General Department of Tourism Development and International Cooperation, said the TWG-51 meeting would take place on April 25, with about 80 participants from Cambodia’s GMS partners – China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam – expected to attend.

He added that the Mekong Tourism Forum would be held the following day, with up to 180 guests expected.

“They will include delegates from the six GMS member states, representatives from the private sector, and around 30 domestic and international journalists,” he explained.

“There will be 20 sustainable tourism exhibition venues at the Independence Hotel, six of which will be designed by the tourism ministry to represent the GMS member states,” he said.

He added that in addition, photographic displays would be on show for each member, with images provided by the member states.

“There will also be presentations by tourism specialists from many countries,” he said. “An island visit is scheduled to take place on April 27 in order to showcase some of the most popular tourist destinations in Preah Sihanouk province.”

Cambodian Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy said on March 28 that major international forums are an excellent opportunity for the Kingdom to promote itself on the world stage.

“Aside from this forum, I also expect the visit Cambodia 2023 campaign and the upcoming SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games to boost the number of foreign tourists we will greet this coming year,” he added.

Vandy suggested that each of the Kingdom’s tourism operators should be ready for the influx of visitors, and should prepare new products and services for them.