Minister of Tourism Thong Khon is optimistic that next week’s ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022 (ATF 2022) will be a major catalyst for the broader reopening of tourist attractions in the bloc, and put Cambodia on the map as a safe regional travel destination.
The minister made the remark on January 12 at a final meeting to review the last of the arrangements for ATF 2022, which is scheduled for January 16-22 in Sihanoukville, Preah Sihanouk province.
The finishing touches will help ensure that the event takes place smoothly, safely and responsibly at all times, and above all, that leaders, delegates and other participants are safe for the duration of the event, he said.
Preah Sihanouk provincial deputy governor Long Dimanche told The Post that the coastal province was ready for the week-long event.
Dimanche described the forum as an opportunity for Preah Sihanouk to promote its vast tourism potential, and revamp its image with various new infrastructure initiatives and a range of additional safety measures.
“The ASEAN Tourism Forum comes as the Kingdom assumes the ASEAN chairmanship, so it is a shot for Preah Sihanouk to showcase itself and sell more tourism products to a wider audience, in hopes of attracting more tourists from ASEAN countries,” he said.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents adviser Ho Vandy expects tourism operators and other private sector actors in the bloc to work together on mutual travel arrangements and encourage intra-regional trips, in the spirit of the ASEAN Community and in observance of each country’s safety policy.
He portrayed ATF 2022 as part of the Kingdom’s post-Covid-19 tourism promotion efforts.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, overall arrangements for the forum are about 95 per cent complete.
Senior officials from the 10 ASEAN countries, including 123 international delegates, are expected to attend the ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings, held in the framework of the ATF 2022, it said, while playing down concerns of Omicron community spread.
Also set to be held in conjunction with the event is the Travel Exchange (Travex) trade fair, which will bring together a group of 187 sellers, 40 accredited international buyers, 20 news institutions and 322 guests from 27 countries, it added.