Phnom Penh facelift from Jan 15 to attract Games’ tourists

In a move to attract domestic and international tourists for the upcoming SEA Games and ASEAN Para Games, Cambodia will launch a massive campaign to decorate Phnom Penh on January 15.

The SEA Games is to be held in the city from May 5 to 17 and the Para Games from June 3 to 9. Around, 500,000 foreign tourists are expected to visit Cambodia during the Games.

The decoration campaign was finalized at a combined meeting of the technical committees of the Cambodia SEA Games Organizing Committee (CAMSOC) and the Cambodia ASEAN Para Games Organizing Committee (CAMAPGOC), chaired by the Minister of Tourism, Thong Khon, on Tuesday.

Khon, President of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC), is also the permanent vice-chairman of CAMSOC.

“The grand decorations are expected to attract the locals as well as sports fans from other countries to both the Games that Cambodia will host this year,” said Vath Chamroeun, Secretary General of CAMSCO, adding that the promotion campaign will begin from Phnom Penh International Airport and cover all main streets across the capital.

According to Chamroeun, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence General Tea Banh and Tourism Minister Thong Khon encouraged the technical committees to make the best of the decorations to demonstrate national pride and get them ready before the 100-day countdown of the games.

CAMSOC had earlier announced a 100-day countdown programme for both the games, which is expected to give the tourism sector a further booster.

Chamroeun said that the decorations are expected to be in place by February 6 at all the main streets, in public places, supermarkets, hotels, entrance to the National Stadium and other venues of the SEA Games.

Thong Rathasak, Director General of Tourism Development and International Cooperation of the Ministry of Tourism told Khmer Times yesterday that around 500,000 foreign tourists are expected in Cambodia during the Games.

Meanwhile, the male rabbit named Borey has been designated as a virtual symbol for the 2023 SEA Games by the CAMSOC.

According to Thourn Sinan, Cambodia Chapter Chairman of Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), the conduct of the SEA Games will be a major game-changer for Cambodia’s tourism. “The tourism sector in the country is expected to see an increase in footfalls from February onwards,” he told Khmer Times recently.

The Minister of Tourism recently asked tour operators and agents to promote the SEA Games and the Para Games for attracting international visitors. The two sporting events could not only generate more visits from other Asean countries to Cambodia but also raise the country’s visibility across the world.

Tourism directly contributes 11.5 percent to Cambodia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as it generates an income of $2.2 billion annually, and sustains 782,500 jobs which is around 12.4 percent of total employment.

Cambodia could welcome 6.6 million international tourists in 2019 before Covid-19 shuttered the world, but the numbers shrunk to 200,000 arrivals in 2021. Last year marked a revival with the country expected to have received 2.2 million international tourists and the opportunity for the country to host the Games’ in 2023 could bring in more tourists.

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