PHNOM PENH (The Phnom Penh Post/Asia News Network): The government has issued a sub-decree establishing the Siem Reap-Angkor Tourism Management and Development Commission (SRATMDC) to coordinate and monitor the development of tourist destinations in the province, in accordance with the Siem Reap Tourism Development Master Plan 2021-2035, which was launched in October.
The commission was established on Dec 30 to lead, coordinate and monitor the development of Siem Reap tourism destinations and to effectively implement the 15-year master plan to increase competitiveness and ensure sustainability, according to the sub-decree.
Comprising members from various state institutions, the SRATMDC is chaired by Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth, with three vice-chairpersons: Minister of Tourism Thong Khon as permanent vice-chairman, along with Minister of Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona and Minister of Environment Say Sam Al.
The sub-decree loosely identifies six priority tourist destinations to be brought under the commission’s purview: Angkor Archaeological Park, Phnom Kulen National Park, Banteay Srei Protected Area and its environs, Siem Reap town area, the Tonle Sap Lake area, and Siem Reap Thmey Tourism Area.
Ministry of Tourism secretary of state Top Sopheak told The Post on Jan 5 that the sub-decree had not made the composition and duties of the commission fully explicit, and said the ministries involved would hold internal discussions before Pornmoniroth is due to convene a meeting at an unspecified date to assign more specific tasks.
The Apsara National Authority (ANA) is the government body responsible for the protection and management of Angkor Archaeological Park, one of the six priority areas listed in the sub-decree.
Its deputy director-general Long Kosal shared that the ANA is implementing a tourism develop plan that aims to complement the 2021-2035 master plan.
He said associated works would be guided by technical advice from the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor) to ensure the value of the site.
He suggested the SRATMDC keep tabs on the ever-changing Covid situation and other circumstances, and understand the practical limitations in the implementation of the master plan and other works.
The government launched the master plan on Oct 20 at a virtual ceremony presided over by the finance minister.
Pornmoniroth told the event that the plan would be a key tool driving the tourism industry in Siem Reap province, and the Kingdom, towards continual improvements in terms of quality, safety and sustainability, and undergirding a recovery in economic growth, during and after Covid-19.
The tourism ministry has said that through the strategies put forth by this and supplementary instruments, Siem Reap could attract 10.9 million domestic tourists by 2023 and 7.5 million international tourists by 2025, creating 940,000 jobs and generating an additional $6 billion in revenue for the province’s economy.