Minister Discusses Tourism

Cambodia and Malaysia “must work harder” to swap tourists and build up the leisure travel industry between the two countries and Asean at large, Malaysia’s mi­ni­ster of culture, arts and tourism said Monday.

“Malaysia and Cambodia must work harder to exchange peoples,” Abdul Kadir bin Sheikh Fadzir said, speaking at a luncheon with media and tourism industry leaders in Phnom Penh.

Cambodia is poised for a tourist explosion, thanks to sustained peace and the publicity of up­com­ing Asean conferences, he said.

“For the next few months, Cam­­­bodia will be the center of the world,” Abdul Kadir said.

Tourism is Malaysia’s second biggest industry, with more than 12.7 million visiting the country last year alone, Abdul Kadir said.

The minister said he was glad to see Malaysian Airlines adding an extra Kuala Lumpur-to-Phnom Penh flight, bringing the total number to seven per week.

But the minister said he looked forward to the day when there are up to five daily flights between the countries.

“That is certainly going to help two-way traffic. There’s going to be a lot of Malaysians [co­ming] to Cambodia,” Abdul Kadir said.

The Cambodian tourist industry could help out, though, the minister said.

They should coordinate with their “counterparts” in Kuala Lum­pur to come up with “attractive packages” for Asean travelers—and that means low prices, Abdul Kadir said.

“Once trade is established, then we can raise the charges,” he said, adding that what the tourism industry loses in profit margins it will make up for in volume.

Abdul Kadir, who arrived Sun­day, spent the morning in meetings with Minister of Tourism Veng Sereyvuth and Prime Mi­ni­ster Hun Sen, discussing tourism between the two nations.

Abdul Kadir is making his first visit to Cambodia since 1967. He is scheduled to visit Siem Reap and the temples at Angkor Wat today. He leaves the country to continue his three-nation tour Wednesday.


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