Thai Tourism Deal Approved

“Two Kingdoms, One Desti­nation” is the slogan tourist officials from Cambodia and Thai­land will be promoting as the result of an agreement signed Friday.

The two countries agreed to cooperate on transportation as well as the publishing of posters, magazine articles and tour guide books. The Tourism Authority of Thailand will also provide three two-week scholarships this October for Cambodians interested in training for hotel and resort management, food and beverage handling and tour guide training.

Additionally, the Thais will offer six months of training for Cambodia Tourist Police officers so they can learn how to better  protect Cambodia’s temples.

The tourism business continues to grow in both countries. Adisai Bodharamik, the Thai minister in charge of the Tourism Authority, said his country hopes to have 10 million visitors by 2001.

Cambodian Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth noted that visitors coming by air from Thailand had increased 45 percent in the first six months of 2000, compared with the previous year—jumping from 120,000 to 166,000 visitors. Up to 45 percent of Cambodian tourist arrivals come from Bangkok.

“We will just promote together,” Adisai Bodharamik said. “We do not care where the visitors go.”

An Asean tourist forum is tentatively scheduled to be held in Cambodia in 2003. Over 4000 tour operators, airline representatives and media members are expected, officials said.

At the Asean meetings held last week in Bangkok, India offered to join a tourism cooperation project with Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Vietnam and Thailand. The goal is to create packages that link India’s attractions with Angkor Wat, Luang Prabang in Laos, Pagan and Mandalay in Burma, the Grand Palace in Bangkok and the Vietnamese city of Hue.

(Additional reporting by Kyodo News and Deutsche Presse-Agentur)

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