Excellency Ho Huowa, Vice Chairman of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Chairman of Global Tourism Economy Forum, Macau 2015
Excellency Chui Sai On, CEO of Macau Special Administrative Region
Excellencies, Ladies, and Gentlemen!
On behalf of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia, I would like to sincerely congratulate and support “4th Global Tourism Economy Forum, Macau 2015” which is being auspiciously held with excellent arrangement in Macau, the People’s Republic of China. Also, I would like to express my profound thanks to Excellency Ho Huowa and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for inviting me to this important forum.
Over the past years, while making steady economic progress, our Asian region has achieved remarkable transformation, becoming an important multi-cultural center where people throughout the world wish to see and explore. The theme of today’s forum “Belt and Road Initiative: Unleashing the New Dynamics of Cultural Tourism” is indeed very important and relevant. It does not only reflect the culture and tourism linkage development, but also the close cooperation and integration amongst countries across the world to join hands in developing tourism for a common cause, by means of culture as an invaluable treasure of all nations that passed down from our ancestors thousands years back in the past. In this regard, I firmly believe that this forum will be an opportunity to exchange views and share experiences and knowledge amongst all relevant stakeholders so as to adopt new improvement measures to further promote the development of global and regional cultural tourism.
Cambodia has given top priority to the development of cultural tourism since this sector does not only contribute to economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction, but also play an important role in supporting the regional integration. Indeed, Cambodia is an attractive cultural tourist destination, thanks to the unique and magnificent wonder of Angkor, thousands of ancient temples, and intangible treasures such as traditional songs and dances, Khmer opera, sculpture, lively and admiring tradition as well as Cambodian delectable cuisines. All these, together with Cambodia’s coastal beauty, green scenery and natural forests, are the elements to back up Cambodia’s name as the “Kingdom of Wonder”. Given its richness in culture, civilization and ecology, Cambodia considers tourism sector as smokeless or green gold industry that drives the national economy.
The national cultural assets have been significantly contributing to the country development. Currently, cultural tourism constitutes around 80% of Cambodia’s tourism sector. In 2014, the number of tourists grew roughly by 7% with total international arrivals of 4.5 million, generating more than USD 3 billion revenue for the national economy. The number of international tourist arrivals is projected to reach 5 million in 2015 and 7.5 million in 2020 that could generate USD 5 billion revenue and 800,000 jobs for people.
In this connection, in February 2015, Cambodia hosted a historical event – the first Global Conference on Tourism and Culture, in cooperation with two UN institutions, namely the UNWTO and UNESCO with participants from 99 countries attended. It was organized for dialogue and exchange of views as well as for learning about opportunities and challenges in order to strengthen the cooperation in tourism and culture sectors.
The Kingdom of Cambodia and People’s Republic of China have developed good relations long time ago in the past since the Angkor Empire era. The relations were further expanded and enhanced more closely in Sangkum Reastre Niyum (People’s Socialist Community) under the Royal leadership of the King Father Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk. Later, our relations continue to be expanded, strengthened and promoted to become the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership as it is today. In this connection, the bilateral cooperation between the two countries has been progressing remarkably. In fact, there has been a strong increase in direct investment from China to Cambodia in all sectors, including construction, garment, energy, finance, and service, etc. Chinese tourists coming to Cambodia has ranked 2nd for the last couple years. In this context, on behalf of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia, I would like to extend my profound gratitude to the Chinese Government and People for all the contribution to Cambodia’s development. Cambodia wishes China and its people further prosperity, so that China can continue pursuing its increasingly important role in fostering regional and global development. Cambodia therefore warmly welcomes more Chinese investors, businessmen and tourists.
Finally, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia and myself, I would like to wish Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen presented in this Global Tourism Economy Forum, Macau 2015, good health and success in your every undertaking./.