Siem Reap (FN), Nov. 3 – Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen said that the 5th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) and the 6th Cambodia-Laos PDR-Myanmar-Viet Nam (CLMV) Tourism Minister Meeting showed the strong regional solidarity and an opportunity for ACMECS and CLMV tourism leaders to assess the impacts of COVID19 on tourism sector, set out appropriate strategies for recovery and enhance more cooperation.

The premier spoke at the opening ceremony of the 5th ACMECS & 6th CLMV Tourism Ministers Meeting, held on Thursday (Nov 3) in Siem Reap.

The premier highly appreciate the past and on-going efforts made by ACMECS and CLMV tourism leaders, through the biennial meetings, in enhancing the exchange of tourist flow among the member states and promoting cooperation to attract tourists from the third countries under the campaigns of "5 countries, one destination" and "4 countries, one destination".

Through the past two years of COVID19 crisis, the role of tourism sector has been seen as more relevant in supporting the economic growth and national progress, especially its role in strengthening relations between nations, solidarity and friendship between the countries in the region.

In this regard, as a basis for development of ACMECS and CLMV tourism in the present and future, Samdech would like to share some considerations with these Tourism Ministers Meetings, as follows:

First, ACMECS and CLMV should further enhance the cooperation on tourism product diversification to ensure the complementarity and a sense of diversity to tourists in response to the changing post-COVID19 tourist trend. In this sense, the member states shall multiply efforts of cooperation on developing rural tourism including community-based tourism, eco-tourism, adventure tourism, health and wellness tourism, gastronomy tourism, etc. These truly respond to the increasing tourism demand and directly contribute to the local development. At the same time, ACMECS and CLMV should lay out a cooperation framework for supporting MSMEs to become the backbone for sustainable and resilient tourism development.

Second, in the context of digitalization, ACMECS and CLMV countries should promote more exchanges of experiences on the tourism digital transformation such as experience sharing on conducting the training programs of digital literacy in tourism sector, digital skills development, as well as the use of digital technology for increased productivity and competitive advantages.

Third, ACMECS and CLMV should further focus on promoting the ACMECS-Intra Traveler and CLMV-Intra Traveler and emphasize on more air, land and water connectivities including promoting self-driving tour. To attract tourists from the third countries, Samdech would like to support the continued campaign “5 countries, one destination" and "4 countries, one destination".

Fourth, to accommodate the implementation of plans of action of ACMECS and CLMV tourism that have been laid out, I would like to support the consideration to establish ACMECS and CLMV tourism institutional mechanism, which can be a secretariate or any structure Cambodia has a pleasure to host this entity.