For the first time in the event’s 37-year history, Cambodia is to host the annual Pacific Asian Tourism Association Travel Mart (PTM), an annual tourism trade fair organised by the multinational tourism body.
So Visothy, director of marketing and information at the Ministry of Tourism, said yesterday that the trade fair, which will take place September 17-19 on Koh Pich, is a boon for the country’s tourism industry.
“The event is a chance for the private sector to engage with potential partners. It is mainly to promote the potential of Cambodia as a tourism destination, its hospitality and services to attract more visitors in the future,” he said.
Visothy said more than 600 tour companies from around the world are expected to attend the event.
“This time we were selected on the proof that Cambodia has real potential as a key tourism destination and it is a safe place to visit. It will erase the notorious image of Cambodia as a country of war, genocide and unrest,” Thoun Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association’s Cambodia chapter, said.
PATA was established in 1951 and now has more than 50 chapters worldwide. Priority for hosting the annual Travel Mart is given to countries in the Asia-Pacific region, with a preference towards developing tourism markets Sinan said.
Though the location of this year’s event was decided by PATA in February, it was kept low-key until government announcements this month.
Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said the fair would help showcase Cambodia’s diversity.
“It is the way to attract tourists to stay in Cambodia and tour operators to sell packages to other destinations and attractions such as ecotourism areas, sea diving and beaches. Not just city and temple tours,” he said.
The Ministry of Tourism confirmed funding for the event will come out of the national budget, but said the exact cost won’t be known until July.
Last year’s PTM was held in Chengdu, China. It hosted some 550 tourist industry stalls and about 473 buyer delegates, according to PATA.