Tourism Minister touts master plan for Siem Reap tourism boost

Tourism Minister touts master plan for Siem Reap tourism boost

Minister of Tourism Sok Soken visited the Siem Reap Provincial Department of Tourism on Saturday and discussed crucial aspects of the master plan for Tourism Development in Siem Reap Province 2021-2035.

The Tourism Master Plan was launched back in October 2021 for the years up to 2035. The main aim of the strategy was to transform the Siem Reap city and surrounding area into a quality destination, firmly focused on luring affluent tourists with greater spending power. At the same time, it sought to soften the blow of excessive visitor numbers to the Angkor Wat temple complex.

During the visit, Soken emphasised the rejig of the operational process and methodology to boost efficiency. He also advocated updating the mechanism of the Cambodia Tourism Marketing and Promotion Board (CBT). The Minister rallied for the promotion of a green belt where farmers could grow all types of vegetables and pursue fishing and rearing livestock to provide supplies to the tourism businesses.

The main objective of the creation of a green belt was to generate job opportunities for the local community, increase the income of farmers in the area and meet export targets.

In the course of the meeting, the Minister stressed on the importance of promoting Kulen as a destination for tourism as well as nature, adventure, research and science. He spoke strongly in favour of the development of an ecotourism corridor in the Jayavarman-Norodom Phnom Kulen National Park.

Elaborating the challenges facing the Kingdom in achieving the master plan, Chhay Sivlin, President of CATA told Khmer Times on Sunday identified limited financial resources to support large-scale development projects. She sought the participation of stakeholders to overcome the odds.

Phnom Kulen has tremendous potential as a premier tourism destination, especially given its rich cultural, historical, and natural attractions, said Jeremie Clement, General Manager, Peninsula Phnom Penh. This area, often considered underrated, could significantly benefit from improved infrastructure, particularly the construction of a real road to facilitate access to its stunning waterfalls and sacred pagoda.

As the birthplace of the ancient Khmer Empire, Phnom Kulen is home to numerous archaeological sites, ancient temples, and intricate carvings that offer unique insights into Cambodia’s history and heritage.

On the future of ecotourism, Sivlin said it includes Koh Kong, Stung Treng and Kratie as they are home to diverse ecosystems, including rain forests, wetlands, and the Mekong River, offering ample opportunities for ecotourism. Protected areas such as the Cardamom Mountains, Tonle Sap Lake and Virachey National Park attract nature enthusiasts and eco-tourists.

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