ITB Asia News 2019 Review Edition







So Mara

Secretary of State,

Cambodia Ministry of Tourism

Secondary cities

to relieve Cambodia’s

iconic destinations

from overcrowding

Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala

speaking at the launch of the new

development of the cruise ship terminal.

Kenya wants to get a piece of the cruise tourism pie

according to Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Tourism &

Wildlife, Najib Balala.

With 80% of all tourist arrivals concentrated in just three

destinations – Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Phnom Penh and

Sihanoukville along the Coast, the Ministry of Tourism is

looking at promoting secondary destinations to better spread

tourist movements across the Kingdom. “It is a necessity as we

also would like to spread tourism benefits to more destinations

in Cambodia,” tells So Mara, Cambodia Secretary of State at

the Ministry of Tourism.

Selected destinations are

Battambang, Kampot and Kratie.

The three cities will be at the centre

of a new promotion campaign by

the Ministry of Tourism to highlight

their unique appeal thanks to their

colonial and historical heritage.

A comprehensive rehabilitation and

promotion plan has been drawn

by Cambodia Minister of Tourism

in cooperation with the French

Development Agency (Agence

Française de Développement, AFD).

Due to their historic Khmer and

French colonial buildings, the

three provincial capitals are being

considered to attract visitors by

being promoted as second-tier

destinations. Just in Battambang,

the AFD and the Ministry list some

800 buildings offering a historical

interest. The smaller city of Kampot

has some 300 historical structures

while Kratie has a bit less but

is worth a visit as it is the only

historical town to be located along

the Mekong River.

The AFD intends to help with

the maintenance, repair and

preservation of the towns’ old

buildings and turn them into

“inclusive” tourist cities, with all

development activities set to be

carried out with the consideration

of the residents’ rights and benefits.

“Promoting secondary destinations

is easier than ever as infrastructures

are developing quickly. We have

for example better roads but we

also revived our train network.

Travelling by train is still in its

infancy but we feel confident that

it will increasingly be a reliable and

sustainable way to travel across the

country,’ adds So Mara.

“We hope that through the initiative,

Cambodia will be able to build and

strengthen its tourism sector to the

next level,” hopes the Secretary of


At a recent tourism event

in Nairobi, Kenya’s Cabinet

Secretary for Tourism &

Wildlife Najib Balala indicated

that Kenya wants to tap into

the tourism market. “Cruise

tourism is growing globally

and Kenya wants to be part

of it,” he indicated. According

to the State Secretary, over 76

million of travellers are going

on a cruise every year but so

far, sub-Saharan Africa has

been excluded from the cruise


The Kenyan government is

consequently investing into

cruise facilities. A new cruise

terminal in Mombasa is due

to open its doors before the

end of the year. The project

started in 2016 and represents

a total investment of 3.4

million US dollars. Mombasa

already receives a few cruise

ships every year but numbers

remain tiny with less than

5,000 arrivals. Mombasa is

a stop-over generally on a

route linking Zanzibar to the


Najib Balala said that there is

a strong potential to develop

cruise tourism along the east

coast of Africa towards the

Indian Ocean. This includes

Capetown and Durban in

South Africa, Madagascar,

Maputo and Beira in

Mozambique, Zanzibar in

Tanzania, the Seychelles,

Mauritius and finally

Mombasa. “We need not only

to have Mombasa working

well but also Zanzibar or

Durban to be sure that safety

and good standards are

available for cruise liners,”

highlighted the Secretary of

Tourism and Wildlife.

The new Mombasa cruise

terminal will be a game

changer to the local tourism

industry as it will help attract

more international tourists

to the country. According to

Najib Balal, Mombasa could

in the future attract as many

as 140,000 tourists per year as

highlighted by a report of the

Kenya Ports Authority about

cruise tourism potential. The

study was released in 2015

by Tourism and Transport

Consult International

ITB ASIA NEWS • Monday 28 October 2019

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