- H.E. Dr. Anton Caragea, President of the European Council of Tourism and Trade,
- Distinguished National and International Guests!
Today, I am delighted to participate in the ceremony to celebrate Cambodia being awarded “World Best Tourist Destination 2016 Award” and the inauguration of “Cambodia as a Popular Cultural Destination in 2016”,along with the first Competition on “First Good Hospitality”.
At the outset, I would like to extend a very warm welcome the delegation of the European Council on Tourism and Trade to this event. I would like to also express my gratitude and appreciation to H.E. Dr. Anton Caragea, president of the European Council on Tourism and Trade and his colleagues for creating this highly important award which will help promote Cambodia’s tourism. I also thank the European Council on Tourism and Trade for electing me as an honorary member of the European Tourism Academy.
On behalf of the Royal Government and People of Cambodia, I am really proud that the Kingdom of Cambodia has been awarded the World Best Tourist Destination 2016 Award along with the declaration of “Cambodia as a Popular Cultural Destination in 2016”.This result indeed attests to real situation of Cambodia and the wonder of Cambodia as “Culture and Nature” tourist destination which is now a major tourist destination in Asia and Southeast Asia, a region that is enjoying high tourism growth thanks to richness of culture, history and nature. Cambodia has indeed been playing a key role in connecting this regional and highly attractive tourism network.
Overall, the temple of Angkor which is the heritage of humanity and the wonder of the world, the temple of Preah Vihear which is of outstanding universal value, the temple of Sambor Prei Kuk and thousands of other temples within the country and vast natural resources along Cambodia’s beaches that have been awarded the world most beautiful beaches, Mekong River which has freshwater dolphins, eco-tourism region in the northeastern and southwestern Cambodia, Tonle Sap Lake, traditions and customs and the friendliness of the people, coupled with security and safety factors within the country are the great magnet for tourists. Those factors help Cambodia live up to its international recognition as “Kingdom of Wonder”.
As raised by H.E. Dr. Anton Caragea that Cambodia deserves the reputation of “The Kingdom of Wonder” and this reputation has noticeably contributed to the development of tourism sector in Cambodia within this last two decades. In fact, the revenue that comes from tourism sector is a significant contribution to Cambodia’s macroeconomic stability and socio-economic progress and help promote the growth of some supporting sectors such as agriculture, trade, infrastructure and SMEs.
Furthermore, the development of tourism sector has generated revenue that support culture conservation and protection of environment and natural resource in effective and responsible way. With this, I would like to thank the European Council on Tourism and Trade for considering “Cambodia: A Global Role Model of Equitable Distribution of Income from Tourism Development”.
With this spirit, Cambodia is committed to developing its tourism sector in a sustainable, responsible and equitable manner that contributes to economic growth and poverty reduction and responds to climate change. This “green gold” will play an important role in accomplishing the UN’s sustainable development goals 2030. On its part, Cambodia will be active and pro-active in grabbing opportunities arising from its wonder as the world tourist destination. This helps ensure not only socio-economic benefits, high income for the people and sustainable development, but also the protection of cultural and natural resources, in short “Cambodia’s wonder serves tourism, tourism serves Cambodia’s wonder”.
It is undeniable that although the government has strived hard as stated above, the success of tourism sector would have never been achieved without active participation from private sector and Cambodian people. In this regard, we can say that this positive result is mainly attributed to our concerted effort, unity and ownership. Hence, to continue promoting tourism sector in Cambodia to become the “World Tourist Destination” and “Tourist Destination with Warm Hospitality”, on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia, I would like to give some recommendations as follows:
1st. I am of the view that today’s success in tourism development, especially Cambodia’s attractiveness proclaimed as the world’s best tourist destination rely on smiling and friendly faces of those at the front ranging from flight services, international border checkpoints, accommodation, food, entertainment and so on. Therefore, the contest “Good Hospitality” is a new national agenda, and we need to understand that “hospitality is our obligation” and hospitality is what we can do immediately without requiring any means. Furthermore, to make Cambodia the world tourist destination that welcomes 7 million international tourists by 2020 and hosts SEA Game in 2023, I wish to urge all the relevant parties to participate actively in the contest “Good Hospitality”, including (1). good hospitality in tourism services, (2). good hospitality in public service in clean city and (3). good hospitality of migration official at international border checkpoints.
2nd. At this moment, I would like to announce the campaign “Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder” along with slogan “providing warmth to tourists” to become a highly attractive advertisement to the world as well as an important message to increase the number of returning tourists to Cambodia.
3rd. The Royal Government of Cambodia is committed to further conserving natural and cultural resources as well as developing better tourist products and services in response to the context of regional and global integration. In this regard, I request that relevant ministries and institutions pay attention to protecting invaluable cultural and natural resources. Furthermore, they also have to ensure that every tourism-related development and construction in the conservation, heritage and protected areas as well as coastal areas must comply with the principles of sustainability, culture and tradition, and certain regulation while responding to environmental and climate change issues.
4th. On top of the protection of natural and cultural resources together with this friendliness, I suggest all relevant parties to continue their active participation in the campaign “Clean Cambodia, Green Cambodia” by actively supporting the movement contest “Clean City, Clean Resort, Good Service, Good Hospitality”.
5th. To contribute to the promotion of tourism competitiveness in Cambodia, the Ministry of Tourism must strive to cooperate with relevant institutions to further develop creativeand innovative tourist products and create more package tours to make Cambodia become the “center of regional tourism”. In this regard, I would like to request the European Council on Tourism and Trade and private partners to continue supporting Cambodia in the advertisement of tourism development and attract more European and international investors and tourists to Cambodia.
6th. To transform Cambodia into the world’s tourist destination, it is required to take into account the quality of tourism services and green standard of each service, coupled with sufficient and skilled human resources. In this sense, I would like to request H.E. Professor Dr. Anton Caragea and H.E. Mircea Constantinescu, Head of European Tourism Academy, to cooperate and support Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism to further study and develop tourism standards, strengthen and develop human resources in tourism sector, as well as to conduct tourism study and research more comprehensively while the sector rapidly develops in globalization context.
Once again, I strongly believe that Cambodia, with this invaluable award, would become a warm and attractive tourist destination with good welfare provided to tourists and people. Moreover, it would also become an attractive green tourist destination with friendly and smiling faces, which can be named as “Cambodia: the Kingdom of Smiles”, and this helps raise Cambodia’s reputation and prestige as “Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder” in international arena.
Finally, along with the award celebration of “Cambodia: the World’s Best Tourist Destination for 2016”, coupled with the announcement of “Cambodia: Popular Cultural Destination for 2016” and the movement contest of “First Good Hospitality”, I wish H.E. Professor Dr. Anton Caragea and senior delegation of the European Council on Tourism and Trade happiness, prosperity and success in every undertaking. At the same time, I also wish Excellencies, ladies, gentlemen and all participants the four gems of Buddha’s blessings: Longevity, Nobility, Health and Strength.