Cambodia is stepping up its efforts to lure more foreign footfalls, especially from the meetings and incentives segment, in order to reach its 2020 target of 7.5 million arrivals.
Currently, the country is not seen as a destination for meetings and incentives, but Thoura Lor, director of the marketing & promotion department in Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, hopes this perception will change in the next few years.
He pointed out that there were numerous development projects well underway in Phnom Penh.
Two slated for opening this year are Olympia City, a mixed-use complex which can accommodate events for 5,000 pax; and Camko City, an urban development project with “a lot of facilities for meetings and events”, as well as residences.
Other projects in the pipeline include Koh Pich Riviera Building (2019/2020), another mixed used development, and Twin 133-storey Skyscrapers (2019), where the sky-high buildings are said to be about 660m-tall, boast 133 storeys, and will contain a luxury hotel, apartments, offices, shops, an exhibition hall, a theatre and restaurants.
Thoura said: “First we are working to develop Phnom Penh, then after that it will be Siem Reap. We are encouraging investors to build conference rooms, exhibition centres, etc. in order to accommodate more meetings and incentive business.”
When asked how big the meetings and incentives pie was currently, Thoura said: “We don’t know the exact number, but a lot of agencies that handle corporate travel business have gotten in contact with us. These agents have proposed that we push for the meetings and incentives segment, in addition to leisure visitors coming for our rich culture and nature.”
On how he plans to push and grow the segment, Thoura explained: “We will work with travel agencies to create corporate packages. When these packages are ready, we will help to promote them. As well, we are looking for a partner to supply (corporate event) groups to Cambodia.”
Most of the major developments are concentrated in Phnom Penh for now. As for Siem Reap, Sokha Siem Reap Resort & Convention Center is the only large-scale event venue in the city, offering 9,000m2 of space.
“There will be more (venues) built eventually (in Siem Reap), and we are currently encouraging investors to come and take a look,” added Thoura.
The government’s other efforts include developing infrastructure such as the National Highway 11, an expressway from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, and the Kom Pot International Sea Port. They are also in talks with airlines for new city connections, and arranging for chartered flights.
As well, the country will be holding the Cambodia Travel Mart for the first time this year, where 200 sellers are expected to attend the B2B event.