UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general Zurab Pololikashvili met with Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 16, during a visit where he underscored the UN body's ongoing commitment to enhancing Cambodia's tourism sector.

At the meeting, Pololikashvili praised the success of the 35th Joint Meeting of the Regional Commission for East Asia and the Pacific and the Commission for South Asia. He also commended the achievement of the Code for the Protection of Tourists, according to Hun Sen’s personal assistant Eang Sophalleth.

He said Pololikashvili lauded Hun Sen's long-term vision and dedication to tourism. He specifically highlighted Cambodia's support of the code, demonstrated by permitting the Ms Westerdam cruise ship to dock amid widespread fears of a Covid-19 outbreak.

Pololikashvili congratulated Cambodia on its successful hosting of the ASEAN Summit in 2022, and the recently concluded 32nd SEA Games and 12th ASEAN Para Games. He asserted that such events were directly and indirectly linked to tourism.

Responding to Pololikashvili, Hun Sen emphasised the code's significance in providing reliable protection for visitors to Cambodia. He also outlined how the country has enhanced its health sector to support the tourism industry, ensuring tourists feel secure both physically and mentally.

"We allowed the MS Westerdam to dock out of humanitarian duty and a responsibility to save lives when no other country would permit the ship to dock. Had Cambodia not allowed the docking, the passengers' lives could have been severely endangered," Hun Sen was quoted as saying.

The premier expressed gratitude to the UNWTO for its faith in Cambodia's capacity to advance the success of the tourism sector. He further urged the widespread promotion and implementation of the protection code.