In a promising move to revitalize Cambodia’s tourism sector, the government has announced the much-anticipated “Visit Siem Reap Year 2024” campaign, signaling a new era for the picturesque province and the nation as a whole. Prime Minister Hun Manet emphasized the pivotal role of tourism in job creation and economic growth, recognizing its resilience in the face of the challenging global landscape.
Addressing the 19th Government-Private Sector Forum on November 13, Prime Minister Hun Manet acknowledged the profound impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Siem Reap, the jewel of Cambodian destinations. With the introduction of special measures aimed at promoting tourism, the government aims to breathe new life into the region, acknowledging the urgency of such interventions.
“We all acknowledge that [the province] has been the hardest hit among Cambodian destinations. The government’s introduction of special measures to promote tourism in Siem Reap is necessary,” he declared. Importantly, the prime minister stressed that focusing on Siem Reap does not imply neglecting other regions; rather, it serves as a strategic starting point to boost the overall appeal of Cambodia.
The comprehensive program outlined by Prime Minister Hun Manet encompasses a range of initiatives. From enhancing border hospitality and streamlining online procedures to bolstering security and integrating state-of-the-art security cameras, the government is leaving no stone unturned. The plan also includes widening the range of border passes and evaluating the potential for providing financial support to tourism ventures in the province.
Khieu Thy, president of the Khmer Angkor Tourist Guide Association (KATGA), expressed the private sector’s wholehearted support for the government’s initiatives, emphasizing the importance of these measures in attracting more visitors. “We are very pleased with the initiatives the government has set and expect an influx of national and international travelers,” he remarked.
In addition to facilitating tax relief for related enterprises and waiving interim penalties on Angkor Tour Guide and Translator licenses, the plan also focuses on improving flight connections, upgrading infrastructure, and enhancing urban aesthetics. Engaging in robust promotional efforts, the government aims to create a vibrant and welcoming atmosphere for tourists.
Amid these positive developments, Khieu Thy urged authorities to also prioritize improving sanitation and waste management in public places. This holistic approach ensures that the province not only becomes a more attractive destination but also maintains its charm and cleanliness, factors crucial for sustained tourism growth.
According to the Siem Reap Provincial Department of Tourism, as of September 2023, the province boasts 831 operational tourism businesses, comprising more than 71% of the 1,165 tourism-related companies in the province, including accommodation services, hotels, and restaurants.
The tourism ministry’s recent data reflects a remarkable upswing, with Cambodia welcoming 3,926,882 foreign travelers from January to September 2023. This marks an impressive 210.2% increase compared to the same period in 2022. Thailand led the way as the largest source of visitors, followed by Vietnam, China, and Laos, showcasing the broad international appeal of Cambodia.
As anticipation builds for the “Visit Siem Reap Year 2024,” the positive energy reverberates through the tourism industry and beyond. Siem Reap is poised to once again captivate the hearts of travelers, offering a rich tapestry of culture, history, and natural beauty. With the government’s unwavering commitment and the private sector’s enthusiasm, Cambodia is set to shine on the global tourism stage, inviting the world to discover the magic of Siem Reap.