A new institution in Cambodia, the National Tourism Development Committee will coordinate sustainable development and proper tourism strategies in coordination with other ministries.
According to the Khmer Times, the National Tourism Development Committee (NTDC) was created at the end of November to boost the development of one of Cambodia’s most important economic driving force.
The Institution will particularly look at new ways to revive Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, The iconic destination has seen a drop of over 12% of its tourist arrivals from January to September, asking what has gone wrong in its tourism development. Over-saturation and over-commercialisation of Siem Reap might be a first answer to that question.
Angkor Enterprise announced in October that 1.6 million foreign tourists bought passes to the temple complex from January to September, a 12 percent decline over the same nine-month period in 2018. Income from ticket sales reached just $74 million – a 13 percent decline.
Adding to the woes faced by the destination is the recent decision of Cebu Pacific to pull out of its Manila-Siem Reap route. The airline cited difficulties to turn the route profitable.
Will the NTDC really make a change or will it just be another institution validating current tourism development policies? The government seems to take seriously the issue. The creation of the committee was signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Nov 22, according to a statement issued yesterday by the Ministry of Tourism.
The new body will be chaired by one of the country’s deputy prime ministers. Tourism Minister Thong Khon will be the permanent vice-chairman.
There are four other vice-chairmen: Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol, Minister of Industry and Handicrafts Cham Prasidh, Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona, and Minister of Environment Say Sam Al.
The remaining members are secretaries of states and other high-ranking officials. There are a total of 34 members.
The committee is tasked with drafting strategies and policies to regulate the sector as well as to conduct research that can aid the industry to develop sustainably.
It will convene twice a year in meetings presided over by the chairman or the permanent vice-chairman. The Ministry of Tourism has recently urged other ministries and public agencies to work together with the private sector to develop the tourism industry.
From January to September, the number of foreign tourists in Cambodia reached 4.8 million, a 10 percent increase compared with the same period in 2018.