Recently, officials from Cambodia and India met in Siem Reap to discuss cooperation in the tourism industry as part of a high-level dialogue mechanism. In order to strengthen the tourism ties and to promote India as a destination for Cambodian tourists ‘Incredible India Road Show’ was organised in Phnom Penh.

Rashmi Verma, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India said, “The committee is now working on a strategy to further collaboration between the countries in tourism. Stronger cooperation in tourism will be beneficial for both countries in terms of economic growth and job creation,” she said.

The flow of tourists between Cambodia and India has increased remarkably in the last few years, said Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, Cambodia. He said that many Cambodians travel to India to visit religious landmarks, while Indians like to visit the Kingdom to experience local weddings or as part of pilgrimages. “In many ways, both countries have a similar appeal for tourists, and both have huge potential for tourism. This is why we need to boost cooperation with India in the sector,” Khon further added.

Both the ministers laid emphasis on conducting talks with civil aviation bodies to expedite the creation of a direct air link.

Chhay Sivlin, President, Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said the committee has been hugely successful in strengthening ties between the countries, and may soon succeed in creating the first direct flight between Phnom Penh and New Delhi.“India is a popular new destination for Cambodians. We are now working on new tour packages in India to offer our clients,” Sivlin said.

Manika Jain, India’s Ambassador to Cambodia, pointed out that India has a lot to offer beyond religious tourism. “India is now a leading destination for medical tourism, and Cambodians have already started visiting India for medical check-ups and treatment,” she said. In 2016, around 15,000 Cambodians visited India, she confirmed.

Last year, 60,000 Indians travelled to the Kingdom, a 30% year-on-year increase, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.