Mr Tith Chantha, Secretary of State, Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia said that the new tourism strategy must be “creative, competitive, innovative, agile, data-based, integrated, equitable and resilient”. It must address global issues such as climate change, human resources development, experience and service quality, infrastructure and destination management based on honest analyses of rapidly changing economic, environmental, social, and technological factors.

Jens Thraenhart, Executive Director, Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office, said tourism strategy should also be an “open source endeavour” that would draw “on the ideas of multiple stakeholders in the region”. He added that, “a lot has changed since the implementation of the first 10-year GMS Tourism Sector Strategy, which covered 2005-2015. For example, international tourist arrivals have grown 190% over the decade, from some 20 million in 2005 to 58 million in 2015. Myanmar has opened up and become one of the fastest growing destinations in the world. Visa requirements have been eased, new land and sea connections have been developed, and there are now more air routes linking primary and secondary cities in the GMS.”

The Asian Development Bank is providing technical assistance to prepare the updated strategy as part of its support for the GMS Economic Cooperation Program.

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