Cambodia is planning to receive one million international tourists via the sea route by 2027 and will strengthen the Southern Tourism Corridor (STC) Cooperation as well, said Thong Rathasak, Director General of Tourism Development and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Tourism, recently.
The STC is participated by Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia.
Talking to Khmer Times in a telephone interview from Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam where he is attending the ongoing International Travel Expo (ITE HCMC) 2022, Rathasak described sea tourism as having ‘full of potential and a dynamic product’ and STC as crucial for the development of tourism in the region.
“Earlier, we had set 2025 as the year to achieve the ‘one million tourists’ by sea target, but this was changed to 2027 considering the Covid-19 scenario,” said the Director General, adding that a new water gateway at the Kep province, which may get ready by the end of this year or early next year, will play a major role in achieving this target.
The initiative is to bring tourists coming by sea through the south to the north and northwest of the country, especially to Siem Reap, he said. There is also a proposal for a water link connecting Kep with the Phu Quoc Island of Vietnam and once ready this could also boost sea tourism between the two countries.
Water taxis linking all islands in the country and seaplanes are also among the proposals to boost sea tourism in Cambodia. The country has a coastline extending over 420 kilometres and the coastal city of Sihanoukville has beautiful beaches apart from several island destinations.
Self-driving tours via road from Thailand to Vietnam through Cambodia is another proposal that can enhance tourist arrivals in all these countries that are parties to the STC, the Director General noted. “Another important proposal is to revitalise the road route from the state of Assam in India through Myanmar, Thailand and Laos to Cambodia and Vietnam,” he said.
For self-driving tours, road insurance and driving licences of respective countries are also to be ensured. “We already have signed an MoU with Thailand and have mutual understanding with Vietnam as well (for tourism cooperation),” he noted.
Cambodia is also planning to hold an investment forum in 2024 to attract more investment to tourism projects, especially those on the south coast, Rathasak said.