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Promoting Cambodian Tourism

By: Norbert Klein Posted: September-16-2010 in
Cambodia Tourism Magazine
Norbert Klein

The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 682

Being in Germany for probably three or four weeks, I hope to be able to continue to share observations on The Mirror also during this time – of course always related to Cambodia. But, as I had announced, we had to discontinue translations from the Khmer press, and the postings will also not be on a daily basis any longer. I repeat this at the beginning for long time readers who may not yet have read it.

When I left Cambodia last Sunday, 12.9.2010, I saw at the airport bookshop for the first time the CAMBODIA TOURISM MAGAZINE – Volume 1, Issue 4, September-October 2010, 78 pages, bilingual. As tourism is not only the second largest earner of foreign exchange for the country after the garment industry’s exports – it is estimated that the workers there, mainly young women, produce about 80% of Cambodia’s export earnings – but tourism is also the broadest field for personal encounters between tourists from all over the world and “The Secret of Cambodia” to which the

magazine invites in its title. I bought the magazine and want to share what I found.

First of all: this issue is not dedicated to Angkor Wat – though one article assures the readers Siem Reap is Still the Most Popular Tourist Destination in Cambodia (with a small “c”) – but it is dedicated to the NORTHEAST REGION – The Well Known Eco-Tourism Of Cambodia. After presenting LOCAL TOURIST DESTINATIONS in the northeast of the country, there are also sections on CULTURE & CIVILIZATION, GOLF IN CAMBODIA, HEALTH, MESSAGE & SPA (with one subtitle, which clarifies what the MESSAGE is, that Massage has many importance health benefit), INTERVIEW WITH PROFESSIONALS, FOODS & RESTAURANTS, and CAMBODIA TOURISM INFORMATION.

The latter section reveals the good news for Cambodian tourism: the number of foreign visitors increased over 12% to more than one million during the first six months of 2010 in spite of international economic problems; it is estimated that during the first half of the year 2010 also about 4 million Cambodian people visited various tourist sites all over the country. The Minister of Tourism reports that the largest number of tourists from one country came from Vietnam, with 215,496 persons, and for that country’s tourists, the increase rate with almost 46% was also the highest. It is also important to think that in addition to those foreign tourists arriving by air, many come by bus or boat; in the same period of 2009, about 632,000 flew to Cambodia, but 483,000 came by bus, and 40,000 by boat. Diversification of the destinations, of the origin of tourists, and of their ways of travel – with a growing interest for eco-tourism – can be considered to be positive elements for the future of tourism.

To have two pages of text and pictures introducing the Sampeah Etiquette In khmer adds a deep and meaningful explanation of Cambodian daily culture: “In Cambodia greetings is important. Greeting is one of the codes thoroughly implemented in Cambodian culture.” This is followed by explanations how the Sompeah (both spellings with an “a” and an “o” are randomly mixed in the text) is different between friends, from saluting bosses or elder persons, different again for greeting parents, grandparents, and teachers, still different for saluting monks, and with the hands highest when “praying to the God or sacred statues.” The pictures in the magazine, showing staff of travel agencies, greeting on the pictures with the Sompeah, show that they too still will have to master the different ways of greeting correctly, according to the different levels and layers of a hierarchically differentiated society.

Mentioning also such minor flaws observed, also related to the use of the international English language of our days, is not intended as criticism, but to encourage further improvements by focusing what can be improved. The same is true for lay-outing, like in the case of announcing the words of the Minister of Tourism to be on page 66 – while actually they are on page 56. Even so the CAMBODIA TOURISM MAGAZINE is to be praised for their publication, which provides also such important information as the addresses of foreign embassies in Cambodia and Cambodian embassies abroad, simple maps of Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville, and a tourism map of Cambodia, and the visa regulations for the different points of entry at airports and on the borders with Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. Also a reference to the possibility of obtaining an electronic e-visa is given – but without the Internet address of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation which I add here: where the reader is welcomed:

Evisa Make Your Trip Happen To The Kingdom Of Wonder!

Whoever makes some research, will easily find out that an electronic visa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is, at US$25, more expensive and requires three days for processing, while, according to the correct information in the CAMBODIA TOURISM MAGAZINE – CTM – a tourist visa issued immediately on arrival at the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap airports costs only US$20.

All this is mirroring the realities of Cambodian tourism presented and promoted by this magazine, which features also a special event hosted by the magazine: The Third Cocktail Event held on 16 July 2010, sponsored by its three most important sponsors: The Prime Club (“The Prime is THE place to unwind… Sophisticated spaces, luscious food, decadent cocktails, people people people, all the ingredients that the prime melds together in seductive spaces.. allow it to saturate your senses. We define our music style as ‘lushouse’ music that feeds the soul, body, mind & eye in one influence of yummy-ness to hear and to watch bodies move in that special way. Let’s get style ranges from vocal, sexy and dirty house and spans the house spectrum up to progressive and Electro. Night with us is techy, chunky, sexy and naughty! We will push and pull you, take you up and down through a musical journey you won’t forget”), Digital Printing (the printer of the magazine), and the Khmer Thai Restaurant. “The CTM Company will organize such gorgeous events again.”

This article was first published by The Mirror, Vol. 14, No. 682 - Wednesday, 15.9.2010
Have a look at the last editorial - you can access it directly from the main page of The Mirror.

Norbert Klein is the Editor of The Mirror – The Mirror is a daily comprehensive summary and translation of the major Khmer language press - More about The Mirror


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