Siem Reap, 22nd December 2007
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
Today I have a great pleasure to join Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen in the inauguration ceremony of the Angkor Golf Resort which represents another achievement of material bases to serve tourism sector in Siem Reap province.
Indeed, the completion of this world-class golf resort is another important historic event which contributes to the development of tourism sector in Siem Reap.
I would like to take this opportunity to praise and express my appreciation to Mr. Tandizono, the director of Royal Apsara Investment Co., Ltd, who invests in the construction of this golf course in Siem Reap. I wish Mr. Tandizono and his colleagues happiness and success in their business.
Indeed, Siem Reap is a major tourist city that presently attracts international tourists from all over the world. Recent developments indicate that tourism sector has actually brought enormous economic benefits to the country and creates many jobs for the people. The tourism sector here does not only provide jobs to Siem Reap’s inhabitants, but also for those people coming from other parts of the country, to work directly or indirectly in tourism related services and businesses. Almost every family here have a job, besides working directly in tourism industry, we note that there are thousands of construction workers being employed.
Presently, we are cooperating with JICA to prepare a master plan for the development of this city, because our concerns is to attract more tourists while we also need to protect this wonderful tourism resort by ensuring good management and sustainable development. That is because Angkor is being regarded as a unique and priceless wonder that cannot be built by anybody else; it is not only off great value for Cambodian people, but for all humankind too, therefore the protection and conservation of the nation’s cultural heritage is not the duty of any particular authority but it is the duty of everyone and the whole world, including tourists.
Besides, the Angkor Golf Resort which we are inaugurating today will spread the positive impacts on tourism sector which has been good at mobilizing the explosive growth in Siem Reap.
Over the last decade, Cambodia has gone through many changes, not only in terms of political and security scenarios, but also the changes in economic and social scenarios. Political stability, security, and safety are the prerequisites for Cambodia to realise its economic and social potentials. Clearly, political stability has opened a new window of opportunity for Cambodia to develop its socio-economy in all endeavours of people’s life.
Particularly, the open sky policy that I introduced in recent years has shown its appropriateness in convincing and attracting tourists, especially it has helped change the image of Cambodia from the land of killing field and war with abundant landmines to a country of peace, with political stability, security, safety, development and friendly people. When tourists visit Angkor Wat, they will admire and be eager to explore the cultural heritage that links with other resorts and historic sites as well as all kinds of natural treasures such as forest, sea, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, valley etc.
The open sky policy has made Siem Reap the first visiting destination for tourists, then they can arrange their visits in Phnom Penh, at the beach and in north-eastern part of the country. The Royal Government is pushing to have more frequent direct flights to Siem Reap and also encouraging more frequent direct flights to Phnom Penh to attract more tourists to see the beauty of Phnom Penh city and the sights along Mekong River, because Phnom Penh is the country’s capital city.
At the same time; our efforts within the framework of ACMECS between 5 countries in the region including Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar; the Royal Government has adopted the implementation of “Single Visa” between Cambodia and Thailand. This ACMECS’s Single Visa Agreement was recently signed on 17 December 2007. This is the leading key in travel facilitation and a regional role model to facilitate tourists’ entry, without having to apply for visa at many locations, meaning that they can apply for their visa at a single place only in order to visit Cambodia and Thailand. I believe that the ACMECS’s Single Visa Agreement will also be applied to Cambodia-Vietnam, Cambodia-Malaysia, and Cambodia-Singapore in the future.
We are proud of our Angkor wonderland and we have the duty to look after and develop it, therefore all cities and tourist resorts must make great effort and work closely together to ensure sustainable development and quality services for tourists. The Ministry of Tourism must act as the core agency in terms of policies, techniques, and expertise. At the same time, the Ministry of Tourism must cooperate closely with private sector to continue improving the quality of tourism services.
Before closing, I would like to appeal to everyone, including the public sector, private sector, civil society, NGOs, development partners, and all the people to support and contribute to the development of tourism sector in Cambodia to transform Cambodia into an important tourist destination in the region and a more attractive place in the world.
Once again, I would like to praise and thank Mr. Tandizono, the director of Royal Apsara Investment Co., Ltd., for his investment in the world-class golf resort in Siem Reap. Indeed, this achievement is truly another material base to serve the tourism sector in Siem Reap. Finally, I would like to wish Your Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen who are present here with the 5 Gems of Buddhist Blessings. May I now declare the opening of Angkor Golf Resort.