The trade sector has contributed significantly to an increase in employment opportunities, providing income and facilitating the flow of goods, while tourism is a driving force for trade in services, infrastructure improvements and strengthening people-to-people contacts, said Minister of Commerce Pan Sorasak.

Sorasak was addressing the opening ceremony of the Economic Forecast Bulletin for Southeast Asia, China and India 2023, hosted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), held virtually on March 31.

The minister said the trade and tourism sectors play key roles in reviving economies, especially inclusive, resilient and sustainable socio-economic development.

“Cambodia considers the tourism sector as a source of growth, as well as a key pillar that supports our vision of achieving an upper-middle-income status by 2030 and a high-income one by 2050. We have complied with the guidelines and action plans highlighted in the 2020-2025 roadmap to recover Cambodia's tourism industry during and after the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

He added that the government has strived to diversify the economy by creating free trade agreements, and has also improved legal and regulatory institutions. The Cambodian economy had revived after the negative effects of Covid-19 through the growth of several sectors, including construction, textile and footwear industry and tourism services.

According to the OECD Economic Forecast Bulletin, in 2022, the Cambodian economy achieved a growth rate of about 4.5 per cent, with a positive growth forecast of 6.3 per cent in 2023.

In a report, the OECD said that developing countries in Asia have shown resilience in the face of global uncertainty, with growth expected to continue in 2023.

The report said the challenges to economic growth include continued inflationary pressures and a slowdown in the global economy, but these could be partially addressed by the reopening of major economies in the region.

“Despite the notion of resilience, sustainable tourism needs to be further strengthened. The tourist sector needs to adapt to a new context in order to capitalise on digitalisation and become a driving force for economic growth,” Sorasak stated.