Cambodia-India Tourism Year a significant milestone; will encourage tourist exchange: Phirum

The first three months of 2024 Cambodia welcomed 20,000 Indian visitors. The recent partnership also reflects the commitment of both the governments to strengthen bilateral relations boosting cultural and economic ties through increased tourism exchange

The 1st Cambodia-India Tourism Year, launched yesterday in the capital, signifies a crucial step highlighting the cooperation between the two nations. This comes on heels with the recent launch of the new direct flight between Phnom Penh and New Delhi.

Started on June 16, the new direct flight Cambodia Angkor Air service between Phnom Penh and New Delhi is another step to enhance the connectivity between the nations. The flight started with a celebration in Phnom Penh on the said date and will fly four times a week: Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Speaking on the occasion, Manisha Saxena, Director General Tourism, Government of India stated, “The installation of a direct flight from India to Cambodia is indeed going to be a major landmark. I hope that this will be only the first in the series of many other such flights; we expect more in line.”

Shedding light on the number of tourists traveling between countries, she acknowledged that there has been a lot of growth. “In 2021, it was just 578 to India. In fact, by the time 2020 came in, we had about 8,000 visitors from Cambodia. And similarly, Indian outbound figures to Cambodia rose from just about 600 in 2021 to almost 27,000 in 2023. This new direct flight, I hope, will bring more and more people from the two countries in search of the shared common heritage,” said Saxena.

Adding to this, Long Phirum, Secretary of the State, Ministry of Tourism of Cambodia said, “The first three months of 2024 Cambodia welcomed 20,000 Indian visitors. At this juncture, initiatives like Cambodia-India Tourism Year will become a significant milestone to boost the tourist numbers.”

To attract more tourists the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism has organized a variety of appealing events and programmes that includes sports, exhibitions, meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE). Another initiative by Cambodian ministry, “Build + 3Ds” are designed to enhance the effectiveness of national tourism strategies, Phirum said. “These initiatives focus on creating an environment for Cambodia to become a top tier tourism destination”, she added.  

As per Saxena, the Memorandum of Understanding signed between India and Cambodia in 2015 and subsequent joint working groups have laid a very strong foundation for continued cooperation in tourism. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has consistently highlighted the importance of tourism in promoting cultural exchange and economic growth. During the state visit of Cambodian Prime Minister in January 2018, both the leaders agreed to enhance connectivity and future collaborations.

“The 4th joint working group meeting in February 2024 exemplifies our great commitment to enhancing tourism cooperation. And in this, the key areas of focus include the exchange of information on tourist arrivals and infrastructure and exploring joint venture partnerships in the hotel and tourism industry, especially in infrastructure sectors,” she said.

Speaking on India’s sustainable tourism initiatives, Saxena briefed about the “Misson for LiFE” campaign which was introduced in 2021 by PM Modi to adopt individual practices to conserve and protect the environment. Further, the Ministry of Tourism developed “Travel for LiFE” under this to promote sustainable practices amongst tourists and tourism businesses. She also spoke about the designated goals mentioned under the GOA Roadmap unveiled during the G20 Working Group meeting, which she said is a key factor for achieving sustainability in tourism.

Both Saxena and Phirum emphasized the common aim focusing on the importance of tourist exchange between the two countries, promote sustainable tourism and enforce mutual growth.