ASEAN Tourism Forum is an opportunity to promote “Cambodia as a safe tourist destination” and announce the reopening of tourism in the ASEAN region

(Preah Sihanouk): ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022 will become a significant milestone in announcing officially the reopening of tourist destinations in the ASEAN region after receiving the disturbance over the past 2 years from the COVID-19 pandemic, as the international event will help promote Cambodia as a safe tourist destination in the ASEAN region.

Please be noted that Cambodia will host the 40th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2022), which will be held from 16th – 22nd January 2022, at Preah Sihanouk City, Preah Sihanouk province. The official opening ceremony of the ASEAN Tourism Forum will be conducted under the high presidency of Samdech Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of Cambodia, on January 18th, 2022.

There are only 4 days left, the 40th ASEAN Tourism Forum will arrive as the management, civil servants, and the relevant authorities have almost 100% prepared to organize this event, despite having the disturbance from the COVID-19 variant (Omicron) in the communities.

Obviously, on 12th January 2022, Minister of Tourism Thong Khong, H.E. You Sunlong, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister, and His Excellency Kouch Chamroeun, Governor of Preah Sihanouk Province, chaired a meeting to review the remaining works for the preparation of ATF 2022 at Sokha Hotel, Preah Sihanouk province with the participation from managements and the officials of the government, of the ministry of tourism, the competent authorities, and the relevant skilled working groups, as well as the working groups of the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Administration.

Minister Thong Khon informed the meeting that “ASEAN Tourism Forum 2022 will become a significant milestone in announcing officially the reopening of the tourist destinations in the ASEAN region”. He showed optimism that the international event will help promote “Cambodia as a safe tourist destination in the ASEAN region”. He added that these preparatory works are to make the event goes smoothly and safely, and responsive to all situations, avoiding the shortcoming matters until having eventually a loss of control. In other words, it is also to help keep the managements, delegations, and all participants safe which has led to having the promotion of Cambodia as a safe tourist destination.

Of course, to achieve these goals, a number of works are needed to be prepared by the meeting discussed the testing for COVID-19 on the ASEAN delegates, and all national – international participants who will be attending the ASEAN Tourism Forum by before entering into Cambodia, all participants are required to have a certificate, or document confirming that they have been vaccinated, and a PCR test 72 hours have to be done prior to the arrival in Cambodia. When they arrive in Cambodia, they are tested by Cambodian health officials at the airport. On the other hand, before entering the Sokha Hotel, Sihanoukville, the venue of the ASEAN Tourism Forum, they will be also again tested.

At this point, the meeting agreed that if there are participants detected for COVID-19, the responsible officials will send them to be treated at the Kravann Hotel, as a COVID-19 Treatment Center in Phnom Penh, but if the COVID-19 is detected at Kang Keng International Airport, they will be sent to be treated at a separate unit in Sokha Hotel of Sihanouk city. Those being negatively tested for COVID-19 will be given a card before being allowed to get inside the venue of the program.  

The three presidents and the whole meeting agreed to get the fourth dose of vaccine vaccinated for leaders, civil servants, and Cambodian team works, responsible for organizing the ASEAN Tourism Forum (for those who on time to get the fourth dose) in order to strengthen the ensuring of safety for all participants during and after the event.

The meeting discussed the facilitation on the work of transportation for leaderships, national – international senior officials from the Phnom Penh International Airport, from Kang Keng International Airport, and from international border gates with some neighboring countries, as well as accommodation – food and entertainment programs. On top of this, the discussion on the works of inspection, facilitation, and the protection of security and order for leaderships, delegates as well as the whole program was discussed.

The meeting discussed the protocol of each meeting program, organizing of dissemination content, facilitating with promotion teamwork, and national – international media, and the preparedness for holding a press conference of the ASEAN tourism which there will be the official announcement of reopening of tourism in the ASEAN region.

Please be informed that organizing works for the event have been 95% completed, by the location organization for tourism exhibition (booths), opening-closing program and other related programs have already been prepared in accordance with the safety measures. Furthermore, until now there is confirmation of direct participation from ASEAN tourism ministers and senior officials from the 10 ASEAN nations who will be attending the ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ Meeting and Related Meetings, of which the participating international delegates are 123, and for TRAVEX, there are a total of 187 sellers, buyers of 40 companies, 20 institutions of newspapers, the total of participating guests are 322 coming from 27 countries.

During the ASEAN Tourism Forum, in addition to meeting of the national tourism organizations, ASEAN Tourism Ministers’ Meeting, ASEAN plus Three Meeting (Japan, South Korea, and China), ASEAN – India Meeting, ASEAN – Russia Meeting, Meeting with relevant partner organizations, as well as meetings with private sectors, and the International Tourism Exhibition, there will be a planting of trees, the ASEAN Tourism Ministerial Golf Program and the visit to the islands are also a big step to show the readiness of Cambodia and ASEAN as a whole to reopen for international tourism.