A Dollar Per Tourist Will Help Market Cambodia, Minister Says

The Minister of Tourism said the government should reinvest $1 in taxes from each visitor to Cambodia to help develop the country’s reputation as a tourism destination.

Lay Prohas said that with 1.4 million tourists last year, $1.4 dollars could have been collected to promote Cambodia in Europe, the Middle East, India, Russia and China.

“We need just one dollar from the total amount of money that is spent by each tourist,” he said during a press conference about tourism and the World Tourism Organization on Friday.

“If we have a million dollars, we can use it to organize an exhibition about our country,” he said, adding that the ministry does not have enough money to market Cam­bo­dia as a top destination successfully.

His comments came days after Thong Khon, the ministry’s secretary of state, announced that tourism, the second biggest money-maker after the garment sector, loses up to $200 million in benefits that the flow of visitors should produce each year, partly due to goods and services being brought in from outside the country and repatriation of profits overseas.

Lay Prohas said he expects to see between 1.5 to 2 million tourists arriving in Cambodia this year and predicted that the average tourist would spend up to $1,000 during his stay.

Xu Jing, regional representative for the World Tourism Or­gan­iz­a­tion, a specialized agency of the UN, applauded the steady growth of the country’s tourism sector during an interview on Monday.

“Cambodia is on the map of international tourism as a new rising star—not only for this region but all over the world,” Xu Jing said.

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