First Destination Siem Reap Day Aims to Boost Tourism

About 120 tourism players gathered for the inaugural Destination Siem Reap day, aimed at revitalising tourism in Temple Town
Pub street in Siem Reap province. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Pub street in Siem Reap province. Kiripost/Siv Channa

More than 120 key tourism stakeholders gathered for the first Destination Siem Reap networking day, under the theme ‘Together Smarter, Stronger’, to help further stimulate Temple Town’s tourism rebound.

The event, organised by Destination Mekong (DM) and Siem Reap Tourism Club (STC), was designed to be a creative and interactive forum for travel, tourism, hospitality, and related sectors.

Its main aim was to promote business collaborations and public-private partnerships, while helping generate tourism income and job opportunities in Siem Reap and the wider Greater Mekong Sub-region.

DM and STC also intended to create an inclusive platform to share stories, experiences, and good practices, as well as give a voice to those too often excluded from mainstream conversations.

Destination Siem Reap, supported by the Ministry of Tourism and sponsored by AZ Group and Sapathana Bank, marks the first joint action of DM and STC in the wake of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed during the 2022 Destination Mekong Summit in Phnom Penh.

The event, which took place at Memoire Angkor Palace hotel, started with a multiplayer networking breakfast in the garden followed by a workshop featuring a session on promoting Siem Reap as a sustainable tourism destination and another developing the town as a smart tourism destination.

The first Destination Siem Reap networking day. Kiripost/supplied
The first Destination Siem Reap networking day. Kiripost/supplied

This was followed by the signing of an MoU between DM and AZ Group to ‘align their visions and core values and enter into a strategic collaboration towards promoting travel, eco-tourism, sustainable projects and hospitality of Mekong Region at local, regional and global levels and in other related fields’.

During the two morning sessions, 10 speakers from a variety of backgrounds shared their experiences and inspiring stories to stimulate sustainable tourism recovery and resilience in Siem Reap.

Katrine Solhaug, Owner and General Manager of Babel Guesthouse, shared how her business succeeded in surviving the pandemic. She also raised concerns over noise pollution issues in Siem Reap and insisted that the support of the public sector is crucial to solving them.

Sophany Mao, Director of Spoons Cambodia Organization, which provides hospitality training to disadvantaged young Cambodians, spoke of the difficulty in securing funds to train enough students in spite of numerous applications.

In the afternoon, participants were offered the opportunity to join a two-hour cycling tour, co-organized by LoLei Travel and EHT Paul Dubrule, and visit handicraft workshops. This day ended with an evening party at Spoons Restaurant and Café, where guests celebrated the WWF Earth Hour 2023 with candlelight to raise awareness about the importance of saving energy.

Catherine Germier-Hamel, CEO of DM, said, “To achieve tourism recovery and resilience, building trust and strong connections is crucial. Through our networking events and together with our partners, we are willing to help the industry regain confidence and bet on cooperation rather than competition.”