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Speech H.E Dr. Thong Khon at the Launching Ceremony of “Ke” Brand Usage on Cambodian Handicrafts

H.E Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism
at the Launching Ceremony of “Ke” Brand Usage on Cambodian Handicrafts

Cambodiana, October 25, 2012

- Mr. Eric Sidgwick, Director of Asian Development Bank in the Kingdom of Cambodia
- Mr. I Izuka Tomohiro, 2nd Secretary of Japanese Embassy to the Kingdom of Cambodia
- Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, national and international distinguished guests

First of all, on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism and myself, I have the great honor and pleasure to participate with Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen in the launching ceremony of “Ke” brand usage on Cambodian Handicrafts in this auspicious occasion.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend my profound thanks to the Japanese Government via the Japanese Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism for developing the branding development strategy and organizing the consultative workshop on brand on crafts for tourists since then and to date when common brand to be posted on handicrafts for tourists has been selected and officially launched today.

‑ Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

With the world tourism’s trends towards non-stop travels, tourism has been continuing strengthening its pivotal roles through actively contributing to economy, society, and environment. While the world tourist increased up to 1,000 million in 2012, it means that one of seven people will be travelling across the international borders by the end of 2012 and according to the World Tourism Organization, the figure will increase up to 1,800 million in 2030,            and it means that 5 million people will be travelling throughout the world a day.

Together with the large number, the world tourism has been playing a role as a locomotive to spur economic growth, job creation, and the global development. Namely this sector represented approximately 5% of the global GDP, equivalent to 30% of the world’s total trading in service and created 1/12 for the world labor force. As H.E Teleb Rifai mentioned that this decade from 2010 to 2020 will be marked as the decade of tourism and travel becoming one of the most reliable and promising sectors for human and the planet, particularly, while the world economy is in uncertainty with crises in certain regions and unemployment still being a main challenge, tourism has been considered as a reliable and efficient solution to a spur of growth, contribution to sustainability enhancement, improvement of better life.

At the regional level, the Asia Pacific region has been seen as an top and attractive tourist destination because this region will gain 30% of the world’s total market share. Remarkably, ASEAN, a part of the top tourist destination, receives appriximately 79 million international tourists in 2011, including about 34 million intra-ASEAN travelers. And in 2015, ASEAN expects to record approximately 107 million international tourists.

Cambodia which is in the region and has had fast growth has been becoming a potential new tourist destination with comparative and competitive advantages on the basis of abundant cultural heritage and natural resources scattering throughout the country. Depending on these aspects, the Royal Government of Cambodia with Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN being a sound and brilliant leader has considered tourism as one of the priority sectors for the implementation of the Rectangular Strategy and playing a role as Green Gold which has proudly developed over a period of the last decade, particularly contributing actively to the development of economy, society, and ensuring the sustainability of the natinal development through creating jobs, expanding job opportunities, increasing income, improving living standards, making a contribution towards reducing the poverty of the people, boosting the growth of other revelant sectors along with the enhancement of preservation and conservation of cultural heritage and natural resources with efficiency to be aimed at contributing to Green Economic Development in Cambodia.

It is clear that in 2011, Cambodia registered 2.88 million international tourists at the growth rate of 14% compared to 2010 with the domestic tourist growth of approximately 7 million (increased by about 3%). Tourism is an on-site export bringing revenue of approximately USD 1, 912 million into Cambodian economy equivalent to 12% of GDP and creating approximately 350,000 direct jobs and millions of indirect jobs.

for the first 8-month of 2012, Cambodia received 2,334,793 international tourists, an increase of 24.5% compared to the same period of 2011. Following the forecasts, for 2012, Cambodia will receive approximately 3.2 million international tourists, about 4.5 millions in 2015, and approximately 8 million in 2020 with USD 5 billion and approximately 800,000 direct jobs.


‑ Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen

To ensure the development of Cambodian tourism with sustainability and responsibility, the Royal Government with the Ministry of Tourism being an agency has mainly been taking account of the improvement of tourism service quality along with ensuring of sustainability and balances between economy, society, and environment, particularly the competitive movement of “Clean City, Clean Resorts, Good Service” deemed as main strategy and campaign, aiming at strengthening tourist product quality, has been actively fostered with participation from all stakeholders.

In the Cambodia Tourism Development Strategic Plan 2012‑2020 endorsed by the Royal Government of Cambodia on July 20, 2012, the Royal Government of Cambodia has endeavored to encourage the creation of diverse tourism products, both idyllic tourism resorts and tourism products. These products are based on the natural and cultural resources, particularly the existing handicrafts and souvenirs since years ago, but gain lower prices. When these products have been modernized with proper technical standard and quality, the local producers will gain the higher prices. The remarkable points praised by tourists are bout quality, brand, and geographical identity of products which shall be distributed in proper outlets (Night Market). Producing, packaging, and selling handicrafts/souvenirs with common brad shall contribute more importantly to poverty alleviation for poor people, both producers and sellers (Pro-Poor Tourism).

It is stipulated in Article 26 of the Law on Tourism that the Ministry of Tourism shall introduce measures for the improvement of quality assurance of tourism services such as special labels, logos, accreditations, awards and incentives. The Ministry of Tourism shall consult with the industry and other stakeholders in the design, development and the realization of these measures. The particulars of these labels, logos, accreditations, awards and incentives will be determined by a Prakas of the Minister of Tourism.

Presently, the Ministry of Tourism has undertaken to roll out the project on “Increasing product markets for poor population in the central part of Cambodia”, aimed at enhancing poverty reduction in 11 primary villages near and around Sambo Prey Kuk temple in Kampong Thom province. This project has been managed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) under the framework of Japanese Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR), which was designed for the purposes of increasing incomes and creating more jobs for local poor family through product establishment and the sale of Khmer handicrafts and foods in the locality.

The launching ceremony of “Ke” brand usage on Cambodian Handicrafts showcases the importance of tourism development, which has been considering the quality improvement, efficiency, support and the conservation of tradition and cultural heritages of Cambodia.

Craft work is one of the tiny objects showcases the uniqueness of cultures of residents in tourist destinations and in the stage of globalization when people is seeking to experience the uniqueness. Tourist wishes to find the original and authentic products of each geographical area which can help them to recall the good memory and experiences during their visit.  Because of the uniqueness, these products are highly priced than other types of souvenirs, making tourists wish to spend on and acknowledge these special products produced with good quality and common brand.

Nowadays, Cambodia has produced handicrafts with high quality, but more importantly these products shall be redesigned creative in order to further attract more customers. Other than this, it shall focus on upgrading technical skill and the profession of handicrafts producers along with the invention of handicraft branding for tourists, which will improve the quality, beauty of local handicraft products to make it more attractive to tourists.

Once again, on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism, I would like to highly appreciate the joint efforts and cooperation of all stakeholders, public sector, private sector, national and international organization for the sake of tourism development in Cambodia, particularly on quality handicrafts development. In addition, I would also like to extend my profound thanks to the Japanese Government  via Japanese Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) for favorable support on the project “Increasing product markets for poor people in Sambo Prey Kuk temple in Kompong Thom province as well as the trial implementation of the handicraft Branding Development Strategy in Kompong Thom province, and taking this particular moment, I hereby appeal all stakeholders to further support this project in Kompong Thom province and various other areas in Cambodia so as to increasingly expand job opportunities for local people and contribute to national economic growth and reduce poverty line for local people.

Last but not least, may I wish you all the four gems of Buddha: longevity, beauty, peace and strength.

I hereby declare the launching ceremony of “Ke” brand usage on Cambodian handicrafts and souvenirs from now onwards.

Thank you!