– Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, President of European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT)
Today, I am delighted to participate in the ceremony to celebrate the awarding of the status “Phnom Penh: The World Capital of Tourism and Culture” to Phnom Penh capital along with my appointment as “Global Goodwill Ambassador for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.”
Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to the European Council on Tourism and Trade for supporting Cambodia and electing Cambodia as “World Best Tourist Destination” in 2006. Today, Cambodia is honored again on the occasion Phnom Penh is awarded “World Capital of Tourism and Culture” and my appointment “the Global Ambassador for Tourism and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.”
At the same time, I wish to express my gratitude and appreciation to Professor Dr. Anton Caragea, President of the European Council on Tourism and Trade and his colleagues for the decision to award this meaningful status to Phnom Penh capital that help promote further tourism and tourism development in Cambodia.
In addition, I also appreciate great cooperation between Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the European Council on Tourism and Trade for organizing this event. I also wish to express my appreciation to the Ministry of Tourism for the effort to promote tourism development to date with the great sense of responsibility in accordance with strategic direction of the Royal Government while Cambodia has been enjoying complete peace, stability, security, and progress in all sectors.
– Excellencies, Ladies, Gentlemen!
Cambodia is very fortunate that our ancestors left us the temple of Angkor which has become the world heritage of humanity and the wonder of the world, the temple of Preah Vihear and the temple of Sambor Prei Kuk which have outstanding universal value, and thousands of other temples across the country and vast natural resources such as beaches, river, waterfall, beaches that haven been the status as the world most beautiful beaches, Mekong’s freshwater dolphins, ecotourism in the northeastern and southwestern Cambodia, Tonle Sap Lake, traditions and customs and natural friendliness of the people. Those factors help Cambodia live up to its international recognition as “Kingdom of Wonder.” In this sense, Cambodia has identified “Culture and Nature” as the values of its tourism which is now a major tourist destination in Asia and Southeast Asia, a region characterized by high tourism growth.
Peace factor is imperative along with our effort to implement our strategic plans and policies. In this sense, I wish to give three recommendations on the sustainable development of tourism sector as follows:
First, security is the key determinant of the growth in all sectors. In fact, the awarding of above status to Cambodia takes place after dark period of chronic war, genocide and divide caused by foreign interference, especially the cold war ideology. Sacrifice, loss of life and property, hardship, tragedy beyond description Cambodia must face with so many years in order to achieve peace, national unification and harmony nowadays. Today, in spite of complete peace and national unification under one constitution, one King, and one government, Cambodia is still unable to overcome both tangible and intangible consequence of the past war and tragedy. Therefore, Cambodia must protect peace at any cost because “peace is imperative for the achievement of sustainable development goals 2030”
Second, working together for tourism development which is an importance driving force of economic growth. Overall, we must manage tourism sector appropriately to maximize the benefits and redistribute the fruit of growth equitably aimed at ensuring participation from all related parties. In this sense, I give my support to the Ministry of Tourism in producing the 2018-2030 Tourism Development Strategic Plan and the formulation of the master plan for tourism development at important tourist sites and I also welcome the strengthening of the capital/provincial tourism development committees in order to encourage the private participation because good governance at the local level is the foundation of sustainable tourism development.
Third, we must ensures the positive relation between the tourism sector and the planet earth toward greener future in 2030. The Ministry of Tourism must continue to cooperate with related ministries/institutions, the private sector, and media to raise awareness on the benefits of sustainable tourism, the link between tourism and the conservation and protection of environment, natural resource and culture. Overall, we must promote the respect for nature and culture and raise awareness on the importance of tourism in economic development and “clean city, clean resort, good service, good hospitality” contest etc.
These recommendations will contribute to further development of tourism sector, underpin growth in other sectors and ensure socio-economic development and cultural and environment conservation.
I am confident that Cambodia as well as Phnom Penh will continue to be a great tourist destination with natural smile of the Cambodian people to live up to its name as the kingdom of wonder.
Finally, along with the celebration of “Phnom Penh: World Capital of Tourism and Culture”, and my appointment as “the Global Goodwill Ambassador for Tourism and Sustainable Development Goals 2030.”, I wish Professor Dr. Anton Caragea and all participants the four gems of Buddha’s blessings Longevity, Nobility, Healthiness and Strength.