Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia and ASEAN Chair 2022 has shared some thoughts to continue to strengthen ASEAN relations, as well as supporting and encouraging efforts to develop regional tourism towards a common future and prosperity in line with the theme “ASEAN – A Community of Peace and Shared Future”, and together with the vision of “Thinking about the People, the Economy, and the Future”.

It has been assessed that the gradual reopening of full socio-economic activities is in a state of urgency and must be in line with the new normal for all ASEAN countries due to the narrowing of the tourism market, along with increased competition in terms of quality of products and services, prices, confidence in the safety of tourist destinations, measures to control the spread of COVID-19, and travel facilitation, said Samdech Techo Hun Sen while presiding over the official opening ceremony of the 40th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2022), held this evening in Sihanoukville, Preah Sihanouk province.

“These points are the key factors for tourists’ decisions in choosing destinations in a new context. In this regard, the Post-COVID-19 Recovery Plan for ASEAN Tourism will be a key strategy for the gradual reopening of international tourism, based on the principle of maintaining the balance between socio-economic activities and safety and public health, with efforts to return the daily life of the people to the ‘New Normal’ as soon as possible,” he explained.

The Cambodian Premier expressed his support for the initiative for ASEAN countries to implement health measures in the tourism industry, which is a key mechanism contributing to the resumption of tourism businesses and the fight against COVID-19, through the implementation of common principles to the maximum. Cambodia is currently effectively implementing the “Tourism Safety Measures” and the “Standard Operating Procedures – SOP” for the opening of tourism businesses in the new normal.

In the short-term, he continued, ASEAN must consider further promoting internal tourism movements within ASEAN in line with the view of “ASEAN for ASEAN”, and Cambodia fully supports the initiatives to reopen tourism within ASEAN as well as to reopen the whole region to welcome international tourists.

“On behalf of Cambodia and as the Chair of ASEAN, I would like to support the ASEAN Tourism Ministers to discuss and agree to announce the reopening of ASEAN Tourism tomorrow from Sihanoukville of Cambodia. At the same time, for the sake of success in the reopening of international tourism, it is necessary to ensure the credibility and confidence that ‘ASEAN Tourist Destinations are safe’, supported by vaccination rates as a key indicator,” he said. “In this regard, I would like to support the “Vaccine Tourism” programme launched in ASEAN countries, and to support the launch of the campaign of “ASEAN, a Warm and Safe Tourist Destination”. I would like to call on the ASEAN Tourism Ministers and ASEAN health institutions to study and develop a common system for the certification of full vaccination (Vaccination Passport or Digital Health Pass) in the ASEAN region. I would also like to request ASEAN to consider gradually easing travel restrictions in line with the principle of high vigilance.”

Moreover, ASEAN Tourism Ministers, ASEAN partners countries and leaders of the World Tourism Organisation as well as the ASEAN Tourism Association should continue to strengthen human capital development, to strive to implement existing cooperation frameworks, as well as to increase exchanges of good experiences in attracting and developing talents by taking into account the promotion of digital literacy and young entrepreneurs and the support of handicraft and small and medium enterprises in the tourism sector at the local level, and to take advantages of innovation, digital connectivity and the Industrial Revolution 4.0 for the development of smart, sustainable and inclusive ASEAN tourism, he added.

Samdech Techo Prime Minister stressed that ASEAN must work together to promote the recovery of a resilient tourism sector and move towards a better quality, sustainable and inclusive future. “In this regard, I would like to call on ASEAN to continue to strengthen and expand cooperation with dialogue and development partners, and to build public-private partnerships (PPPs) in the countries, regions and the world, to achieve the development of a resilient tourism in a new normal and to bring prosperity to the whole ASEAN,” he said.

Source: Agency Kampuchea Press

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