Selected Comments Samdech Moha Bovor Thipadei Hun Manet, at the 8th River Festival in Siem Reap [Unofficial Translation]



(1) RGC develops everywhere and for everyone

Thank you so much for setting up the exhibition booths, especially the song that goes “we will leave no place behind” […] I have introduced this concept though my speech at the United Nations – we do not leave anywhere and/or anyone behind […] The development objective of the Royal Government in the past more than 40 some years and the Royal Government of the seventh legislative term is to push development everywhere […] and the main goal is to work for the people everywhere […] whatever the policy we set out for development, there are two goals: to develop everywhere and for everyone, meaning we are leaving no place and no one behind […]


(2) Know more about the history, be more grateful and understanding to the value of peace

From the airport to the hotel, I saw (revival) after (the phase of quietness due to) Covid-19 […] I saw many booths […] and according to the report of the Minister of Tourism, HE Sok Soken, there were about 150,000 visitors last evening. Hopefully today and tomorrow, there will be more. Soon we will have Sankranta. These are the results of peace […] Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, told me when we met last week that Angkor Wat was quiet when he visited in 1987 as it was accompanied by the sound of machine gunfire […] if we look into the history, we are happier with what we have here and more grateful and understanding the value of peace better […] we must see the benefits of peace especially on the occasion of the celebration (of the River Festival) today […]


(3) Considering both quantity and quality of tourism

I have met people in the community where they have products and potential […] we can interlink to serve the tourism sector. In terms of quantity, we are talking about the number of tourists (to come in), but we also need to think about quality, which means the amount of time each tourist spends in Cambodia. Thus, it involves not only heritage products, but the combination between heritages and a wide range of other products, especially those associated with the community’s potential, whether in the Tonle Sap or in other potential provinces […]


(4) Create multiple annual events

I have agreed to the request of Senior Minister Thong Khon a few days ago on the establishment of several annual events in Siem Reap and elsewhere, as well as annual sports and cultural events. This work is important. I see that in the tourism meeting, people asked to know if we have any schedules/programs, such as Sangkanta, which is happening always in April, so that they can plan and work on attracting tourists to come. They can prepare/plan package tours. If we have the marathon event in December annually, or other competitions or exhibitions in this/that province, every year, I think we can attract more tourists to come […]

(5) Private sector and state make sure people walking through the open door

Regarding public and private partnership in promoting economic development, the Royal Government has done its job to negotiate opening the door, or to establish connection, but the private sector and the state must work together to make sure the open door is accessible. In fact, the Royal Government has been negotiating to connect flights with countries. We recently signed an agreement on aviation cooperation with Australia, which will get to direct flights (at a later stage). On the 16th, we will have a direct flight to India. We just opened this deal last year.

We have direct flights with many destinations in China, Korea and other countries, but all these destinations are not enough […] in Melbourne, Australia, I met with His Excellency President (Bongbong) Marcos to discuss and agree on connecting the various flights from the tourist areas in the Philippines, like from Cebu. (We already have direct flight) from Manila to Phnom Penh and we are now looking for the ones from Manila to Siem Reap, and from Kuala Lumpur to Siem Reap […] the government negotiates opening the agreements, providing incentives, tax favour, as well as welcoming arrangements […] however, as far as the real tourist products, the advertisements of tour packages, the services provided for arrivals and accommodations are all depending on those working in the tourism sector […]

(6) Strengthen public-private partnership mechanism to promote tourism

Cambodia neither need to set up a state-owned tourism company, nor does it need to spend money to hire employees to work for the private (tourism) sector. We leave tourism for the private sector […] Samdech Techo (Hun Sen) had introduced privatization since the 1980s […] he used to recall that the principle of collective ownership, or solidarity group, that the country adopted since 1979 was re-evaluated in less than 10 years, to have produced much less than those of the private sector/entity. We then had been reforming the solidarity groups into private ownership. As we prioritized in the early 1990s, the state only provides support, principles, and everything through judicial norm, and labour security for the growth of the private sector. We therefore have to strengthen the partnership mechanism between the private sector and the state to promote tourism […]

(7) Conducting sustainable and resilient tourism activities

In November 2023, at the government-private sector forum, I set out some principles of encouragement […] and we established this public and private sector mechanism to monitor and provide assistance on a regular basis. Should there be any shortcomings, request can immediately be brought to the state attention to resolve. Of course, 2024 is the visit Siem Reap year, but that does not mean by next year people stop coming to Siem Reap. This year is an attractive year for Siem Reap, a province in the field of tourism, but also people are not barred from going to other provinces. the visit Siem Reap 2024 is not only for one year and stop. We will work for the sustainability and resilience of tourism in Siem Reap and other provinces […] although we could be a little slower, but we have got a clear direction, and comprehensive thought […]


(8) All provinces/cities/capitals create a culture of welcoming tourists

(International tourists would have) arrived first of all at the airport […] hospitality there is an important task. I have just set up a working group/commission headed by Deputy Prime Minister, HE Neth Savoeun, to take charge of security and hospitality at all airports to make us more attractive […] in the next three to four days or a week, as we are celebrating the Khmer New Year or Sangkranta, let us all welcome guests at the airport. (Tourists will) first see the band of Chhai Yam (typical Khmer musical band and dance) at the airport (or) we would think of something as souvenir gifts to welcome tourists for coming to Cambodia. It should not (be just the case in Siem Reap) but all provinces and Phnom Penh should get on to this welcoming effort during this period. I think it creates a New Year feeling in the whole of Angkor […]

(9) Welcoming the Cambodian workers in Thailand to return for Sangkranta

I have given the principle to (the Minister of Labour and Vocational Training) HE Heng Sour, to work with the General Department of Immigration and the border provinces, to welcome the workers who will return from Thailand for the coming Khmer New Year in as many ways as possible […] in the course of my visit to Thailand last month, I have laid out to the Royal Government of Thailand, and the Thai Prime Minister has agreed that for the whole month of the Sangkranta, the Cambodian workers who have returned to Cambodia for the Khmer New Year will not have to pay the re-entry visa fee of 1,000 baht per person […]

(10) E-Arrival is one step-ahead

The Immigration Department has installed e-arrival systems at airports. Now (it is still in the stage of) trial […] we are one step ahead of using the electronic system […] as for Siem Reap, I don’t think it is appropriate to do (hospitality only) for the Khmer New Year. In Siem Reap, we should consider (organizing) the welcoming events as many as we could, not just once a year, and/or only the 4 days […] Siem Reap is a touristic province. The can we that we can organize many events here. For instance, we have planned to restore the Siem Reap River and make more space available to cater to that kind of need […]./.