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Friday, September 14, 2018, 16:15
Cambodia eyes clean and green tourism
By Wen Zongduo in Nanning and Prime Sarmiento in Hong Kong
Friday, September 14, 2018, 16:15 By Wen Zongduo in Nanning and Prime Sarmiento in Hong Kong

The Cambodia trade and tourism promotion seminar held during the China-ASEAN Expo draws a large audience. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Cambodia’s tourism ministry is keen to develop the country into a more eco-friendly travel destination.

ALSO READ: Cambodia sees China as key partner in preserving heritage sites

A "clean and green (destination) is more attractive (to tourists)," Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon told China Daily Asia Weekly. We want "to develop  Cambodia to become clean and green destination," he added.

We hope that 2020 we will get at least 2.7 million Chinese tourists

Thong Khon, Cambodian Tourism Minister

Interviewed on the sidelines of the annual China-ASEAN trade exposition and investment summit, Khon said the Cambodian government needs "to educate our people, we have to educate the tourists not to litter".

Khon noted that educating locals and tourists will take some time.

He added that collecting and recycling waste products such as plastic bags can help keep Cambodia’s streets clean. The country’s environmental authorities are promoting limits on the use of insoluble plastics.

"If we can recycle rubbish, even the plastic (bags), then all destinations (in Cambodia) will be clean," he said.

Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon talks to China Daily Asia Weekly during an interview on the sidelines of the China-ASEAN trade exposition and investment summit in Nanning, China. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Cambodia is home to the Angkor Wat -- a UNESCO Heritage Site and one of the world’s most popular tourist spots.

The tourism industry is one of Cambodia’s key growth drivers, accounting for roughly 14 percent of the country’s GDP in 2017, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC).

The London-based industry group said Cambodia’s tourism sector employed about 1.2 million Cambodians and brought in over US$4 million worth of revenues.

According to Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism, about 4 to 5 million tourists visit the country each year. Chinese tourists account for about  20 percent of total arrivals.

Chinese and Cambodian officials sign agreements on cooperative projects in Nanning, China, Sept 13, 2018. (PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Tourism Minister Khon said in 2017, 1.3 million Chinese tourists visited Cambodia.

READ MORE: China, Cambodia to further promote ties

The tourism industry is one of Cambodia’s key growth drivers, accounting for roughly 14% of the country’s GDP in 2017

He expects this figure to rise to at least 1.8 million at the end of 2018, noting that in the first seven months of the year alone, Cambodia has already received 1 million Chinese travelers.

“We hope that 2020 we will get at least 2.7 million Chinese tourists,” he said.

Cambodia is the country of honor for the 15th China-ASEAN Expo in Nanning. And the Kampuchea Pavilion at CAEXPO has been drawing crowds.

Apart from tourism-related shows and exhibits, more than 140 booths mainly promote products in agriculture, infrastructure, education, arts and crafts.

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