Cambodian Tourism Startups Selected as Finalists in Program

Three Cambodian tourism startups have made it to the final round of a regional accelerator program and are set to pitch their ideas to international investors next month in Laos.

BookMeBus, CamboTicket and GuideInsider—the first two are ticket-selling websites and the third a mobile app that includes a tourism guide—were selected after six months in a program run by the Asian Development Bank’s Mekong Business Initiative, a post on the bank’s website said last week.

cam photo angkor wat reuters
Tourists take photographs of Angkor Wat in 2015. (Reuters)

The startups’ selection comes amid an expected boom in the digital economy across the region—the U.S.-Asean Business Council said in a report last week it was due to grow 500 percent to be worth $200 billion by 2025—as well as new entrants in the tourism space.

Go Tuk Tuk, another tuk-tuk hailing app for Cambodia, was released for Android smartphones last Monday with the goal of targeting international tourists, said founder Daniel Restrepo from New York.

The company is working with a Singaporean software developer to add cashless payments to the app using PayPal or Alipay, Mr. Restrepo added.

The goal is to let tourists “access the service conveniently” and package transport options with tours, he said.

Pakk Yourng, a digital financial services expert for ADG, a Singapore-based mobile financial solutions company, said Cambodia needed to adopt the right policies to capitalize on the growth of the regional digital economy.

“The digital economy will help our SMEs grow faster, especially for the business that targets Asean as customers, like tourism,” Mr. Yourng said. “However, it is not fast enough to catch up.”

The right mix of government policies would help speed up Cambodia’s digital growth, he said.

“I believe the government already [has] placed this in its policy roadmap, but [it] needs to act quicker.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated there were only two Cambodian finalists for the accelerator program.

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