A newly signed agreement between the Philippines’ Department of Tourism and the Ministry of Tourism of the Kingdom of Cambodia represented by Secretary Wanda Teo and Fr. Thong Khon, respectively, recently signed an agreement that will start a series of programs that aim to renew the tourism ties between the two countries.
The Implementing Program of Tourism Cooperation of 2016-2020 is one of the four contracts signed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s State Visit to Cambodia. Also present in the signing at the Peace Palace in the country’s capital Phnom Pehn, were Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea and Secretaries Perfecto Yasay, Jr (DFA), Silvestre Bello III (DOLE), Delfin Lorenzana (DND), Ramon Lopez (DTI) and Bong Go (PMS).
With the agreement, Teo said she expects a significant increase in visitor arrivals from Cambodia, noting that this year’s January to August visitor arrivals from Cambodia registered a meager 2,381.
Meanwhile, according to 2015 reports, the Philippines can be accounted for 84, 677 visitor arrivals to Cambodia, and for the first half of 2016, the number is at 70, 680.
“Now is the best time to involve our Cambodian friends in our tourism programs and initiatives. We would be happy to help them further as they promised to do the same for us,” Secretary Teo said.
The signed tourism cooperation pact will prioritize air accessibility and route development.
“Coordination with respective airline companies and civil aviation authorities will be undertaken towards the launch of direct flights from Manila to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap,” Secretary Teo disclosed.
The Tourism Cooperation Treaty between the two countries also stipulates the creation of a Joint working group that will serve as platform for both countries to present their corresponding environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism development and cultural preservation programs, as well as, experiences in the governance of the tourism industry, enforcement of tourism laws and regulations, and conservation of cultural heritage sites.
Secretary Teo said the 3rd Joint working group will meet in Siem Reap in June 2017 while the fourth meeting will take place in the Philippines in the last quarter of 2017.
To strengthen awareness of tourism destinations and products in both countries, familiarization tours and exchange programs for tourism and hospitality students and professionals will be further enhanced, according to the agreement.