Trilateral Meeting to Boost Quality Tourism in Southern Corridor

Dara Sakor, Koh Kong (Cambodia) - August 31, 2015 (travelindex.com) - Greater Mekong Sub-region Southern Corridor, supported by the Asia Development Bank with infrastructure’s development- is due to enhance people and goods movement along the Gulf of Thailand, from Bangkok to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. The free flows of goods and persons will be facilitated by new roads, sea ports and airports or new border checkpoints. Tourism officials from Cambodia, Thailand and Viet Nam have agreed to build tourism package programmes connecting tourism sites through culture and heritage trails to highlight secondary destinations and foster quality tourism to the three countries.

The agreement was reached at the second Southern Tourism Corridor Meeting held at the Dara Sakor Resort in the Cambodian province of Koh Kong on August 24, 2015.

The meeting aimed to boost tourism development on the southern coasts of the three countries, which involves the Cambodian provinces of Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kep and Takeo, the Vietnamese provinces and cities of Kien Giang, An Giang, Can Tho, HCM City and Ba Ria Vung Tau, and the Thai city and provinces of Bangkok, Raoung and Trat.

The Minister of Tourism of Cambodia, Dr. Thong Khon, was interviewed by the international media giving information and answering questions about the importance of tourism for Cambodia and the positive impact on employment for the local population and on the economy in general. He stressed the importance of the developing the Southern Tourism Corridor in conjunction with Thailand and Vietnam as the Cambodia coast attracts not only from Thailand and Vietnam but from all ASEAN countries and further afield. He added "Along the the coast, the natural and peaceful environment are the main assets of Cambodian tourism".

After an introduction by the Minister of Tourism, the officials, as well as delegates from the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office further discussed:
- Identification of provinces to be included in the boundary of the Southern Tourism Corridor.
- Product development of the three countries (Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam) on the Southern Tourism Corridor destination.
- Cooperation on facilitation of travel and border crossing.
- Joint marketing plan to establish the Southern Tourism Corridor as a tourism destination.

Many areas along the coast are now experiencing a strong interest from investors for the development of tourism facilities. According to data communicated by the various Ministries of Tourism in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, some 2.25 million international travellers were recorded in the provinces along the Gulf of Thailand while the entire Mekong Delta region sees some 1.6 million travellers a year. Thailand has the largest share at 53% of all international arrivals followed by Vietnam with 24% share and Cambodia with 23% share.

Massive developments comprising integrated resorts, particularly in Cambodia and on Phu Quoc Island in Vietnam- are now taking place to welcome future tourists, particularly from Asia (China PRC, Korea and ASEAN inbound markets are primary targets). The largest resort developments to date are currently taking place in Cambodia. Particularly in Koh Kong Province where the Dara Sakor Resort is at the heart of a 36,000 hectares land development which will see the construction of many hotels, villas and condominiums, a sea port, an airport, two golf courses and a casino.

The US$ 3.8 billion project with 30,000 rooms being planned in the long term, is supported by a free trade zone and has been given on a 99-year lease to China’s Union Development Group (UDG). The first initial phase of the project with a first hotel, the casino and one gold course will soon be opened to the public. They are other major integrated resorts developments at Bokor National Park in Kampot Province as well as on Morakot Island, across Sihanoukville.

The third meeting is scheduled to take place on Viet Nam's Phu Quoc Island in 2016.

Contact information:
Mrs. Witchanee V. Thongsomchit (Tarn)
Chief of International Tourism Cooperation Section
Department of Tourism
Ministry of Tourism and Sports, Thailand
Tel: +66 2219 4024
Fax: +66 2216 6658

Mr. Men Phearom
Chief of Regional Tourism Development,
Planning Development Department,
Ministry of Tourism Cambodia
Email: men_phearom@yahoo.com

Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office
c/o 5th Floor, Department of Tourism
Ministry of Tourism and Sports, 154 Rama 1 Road
National Stadium, Wangmai, Pathumwan
Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Web: www.mekongtourism.org
Tel: +66 2612 4150-1
Fax: +66 2612 4152

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