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Last month, Siem Reap hosted the Cambodia Travel Mart, the Kingdom’s first international travel trade conference with a three-day showcase of Cambodia’s tourism highlights to travel agencies, investors, tour operators and media from across Asia and beyond.

From November 17 to 19, more than 200 actors in the Cambodia tourism industry — tour operators, hotels, restaurants and attractions — hosted display booths at the Sokha Siem Reap Convention Centre giving them a chance to connect with 200 foreign buyers browsing Cambodia’s potentials as a tourist destination. More than 80% of the buyers were selected from the Asia-Pacific region.

Opening the meeting, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said that the event was due. “As the country begins to integrate into the region, the Kingdom must demonstrate its ability to attract tourists and become as successful as its neighbours”, he said.

“This event is an exceptional opportunity”, Minister Thong added, “not only for Cambodia but also for the whole region”.

Luu Meng, vice-chairman of the public and private sector tourism working group, concurred. “Thanks to this fair, we can create new connections and extend our networks beyond our country. Many foreign businesses have come to see us, and when they return to their own countries they will hopefully echo our message. This event is also a significant opportunity for encouraging the government’s goal of attracting seven million tourists from around the world by 2020”.

The buyers were also brought on tours of nearby attractions, including a temple dinner, golf courses, craft centres, and a stunning cocktail and fashion show at Malis vaunting the creations of Artisans d’Angkor.