The Cambodian tourist industry is making concerted efforts to boost its post-Covid-19 economic recovery. As one of the sectors hit hardest by the pandemic, a rapid recovery is crucial to many of the Kingdom’s tourism businesses.

To this end, a focus has been placed on up-skilling workers in the industry, in order to offer the highest quality services and guest experiences to returning visitors.

On December 19, the Ministry of Tourism held a consultative workshop themed “promoting quality tourism services for Chinese visitors” in Siem Reap province, in collaboration with the Siem Reap-based Chinese consulate office. The workshop drew 200 participants, including tourism operators and students.

Financing for the event was provided by the Mekong-Lancang Cooperation fund.

“The workshop is a good example of the efforts being made by the tourism ministry to develop the capacity of service providers and operators. We want to make sure they are ready to welcome foreign visitors, especially Chinese, to Cambodia,” said the ministry.

The ministry praised the government’s vaccination policy which had allowed the reopening of the Kingdom.

“This workshop is about more than teaching new skills to tourism operators and making those working in the sector more capable, it is about developing the human resources of the entire Kingdom,” it added.

It remains to be seen when large numbers of Chinese will return to Cambodia. China’s strict zero-Covid-19 policy has had a drastic affect on their travels to other countries, with Cambodia being no exception.

Prime Minister Hun Sen predicted in July that once China lifted their Covid-19 restrictions, the number of Chinese visitors to the Kingdom would increase dramatically. There are direct flights between the two, and their relationship is excellent.

He advised tourism authorities to prepare for the return of large numbers of Chinese tourists.

“Improving the quality of the tourism services we offer requires extensive training. If we want to offer professional standards and meet the expectations of international guests, then that is what we must do,” said Mean Vandet, director of the Tourism Professional Training Department at the tourism ministry.

He added that the ministry is also working to integrate digital technology into the industry.

The ministry said a total of 69,595 people working in the tourism sector have received training since July 2020, the majority of them online.