The kingdom claimed Asia’s Leading Cultural Destination 2022 and Asia’s Leading Youth Travel Destination 2022.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, the two awards were decided after more than two million tourists from around the word selected Cambodia.

Thong Rathasak, head of the ministry’s General Department of Tourism Development and International Cooperation, received the two awards on behalf of the government and people of Cambodia.

Rathasak said an increase in the number of international visitors was due to four factors: the implementation of the strategic plan on reopening to vaccinated tourism; policy measures to promote internal tourism in 2021-2023; roadmap to tourism recovery during and after Covid-19 crisis 2020-2025; and the Kingdom’s successful vaccination strategy.

The number of visitors increased by 580 per cent in the first eight months of the year, with almost one million arrivals recorded.

Besides Cambodia, other recipients included India, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam.

“All international travellers are welcome to visit Cambodia now that the visa-on-arrival is back, with visa-free travel available for citizens from Asean nations. Fully vaccinated tourists can enter by simply showing their vaccination cards, while the unvaccinated must merely undergo a rapid test,” he said.

“Cambodia is a safe, warm and a green tourist destination,” he added.

Rathasak expects that the tourism recovery roadmap, the “Visit Cambodia Year 2023” campaign and participation in the expo would attract more Vietnamese investors and tourists, as Vietnam is Cambodia’s second-largest tourism market after China post-pandemic.

Almost 200,000 Vietnamese visited in the first seven months of the year.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, congratulated the Kingdom on the awards.

She said Cambodia deserved the two awards as it has many cultural tourism destinations – particularly its temples – that are attractive and well maintained. At the same time, in recent years many Cambodian youths have been actively involved in tourism.

“It’s commendable to get this recognition, but at the same time we should work even harder. We cannot sit idle now that we have won these awards. We need to make sure that future guests to the Kingdom have no doubt that we have earned these plaudits,” she told The Post on September 9.

Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia Chapter, said the awards will help promote Cambodia’s tourism industry to the world, without having to allocate any funds as they are free advertising.

Sinan added that when tourism was doing well, it brought benefits to those outside of the tourism sector.

“Cambodia deserves to win these two awards, because in addition to its geographical location and ancestral heritage, the government and the private sector have been active in conserving and developing the industry,” he said.

2019 was the year when Cambodia’s tourism sector was at its best, receiving a total of 6.61 million international tourists, an increase of 6.6 per cent over the previous year. It earned revenues of $4.919 billion, an increase of 12.4 per cent, according to the tourism ministry.

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