Prime Minister Hun Manet has provided guiding principles to the Ministry of Tourism and the governors of Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Koh Kong and Kep provinces in order for them to prepare master plans for the development of the four coastal provinces. He expects that the plans will be ready next year.
As he addressed the December 3 closing ceremony of the 10th Sea Festival in Kep, Manet explained that it is very important for Cambodia to promote tourism on the international stage to attract international visitors.
“I have asked the governors and the National Committee for Coastal Management and Development, to prepare master plans for the seaside provinces. We have already prepared a master plan to develop Preah Sihanouk and unlock its multi-purpose potential. Now, we need to link that master plan to the three other provinces. We hope that the plans will be completed in 2024,” he said.
He added that the plans aim to unlock the potential of each location, while preserving their value. One of the government’s main principles is that they must not only provide short-term benefits, but must also be preserved in the long term.
“If combined, the four coastal provinces are not too big. They have beaches, ports and so many other assets with a rich potential. The preparation of these master plans aims to ensure that the four provinces are not competitive but will support one another. We want to establish our coastal provinces as a common strength, and drive their potential,” he continued.
The premier noted that since the tourism ministry’s latest promotional campaign, many tourists have visited the Kingdom. He said it is very important that they see Cambodia with their own eyes, as when they return to their home countries, they will in turn promote it as a desirable destination.
Manet instructed the ministry to develop more and more tourism products and services which will attract visitors, adding that tourism not only increases the growth of the national economy and creates jobs for people – thus reducing poverty – but also promotes Cambodia to the world, thereby attracting more investment.
Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) who attended the festival, noted that tourism had raised the profile of the nation and given more people an accurate view of the Kingdom.
He said Cambodia was once a war-torn country of poverty, and unfortunately that was how many people still thought of it.
“We support the suggestions of the prime minister. The development of our coastal regions will promote them internationally, making them more well-known and attractive. The master plan will allow them to support one another in terms of infrastructure, services and other tourism products,” she added.
The tourism ministry reported that the first 10 months of the year saw about 4.4 million international guests and 12.2 million domestic visitors travelling the country. It estimated that by the end of 2023, those totals would reach 5.4 and 15 million, respectively.