The Angkor Wat temple at the Angkor Archaeological Complex in Cambodia. FILE PIC

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia is set to boost its tourism industry following the formation of the National Tourism Development Committee last month.

It was created to boost the development of one of the most important economic drivers and income generators for the nation.

Chaired by one of the country’s deputy prime ministers, the 34- member committee will include the ministers of tourism, public works and transport, industry and handicrafts, culture and fine arts, and environment.

The Khmer Times said the committee, which will meet twice a year, was tasked with drafting strategies and policies to regulate the sector, as well as to conduct research that can aid the industry to develop sustainably.

The call comes as a result of the lower than expected number of visitors at the Angkor Archaeological Complex, the country’s main tourist draw, this year.

Angkor Enterprise, which manages the temple complex, said in October that 1.6 million foreign tourists bought passes to the temple complex from January to September, a 12 per cent decline over the same nine-month period last year. Income from ticket sales reached just US$74 million — a 13 per cent decline.

The ministry said that it was working to identify the issues behind the slowdown in tourists at the park and requested the collaboration of other institutions to attract more tourists by creating new tourism products.

The government plans to diversify new tourism products to encourage tourists to stay longer, improving connectivity and crafting a new identity for the Siem Reap area.

Efforts to stop fake product sales are being made to make Cambodia a quality tourist destination. Authorities are cracking down on those selling fake souvenirs and jewellery as it causes a significant impact on Cambodia’s tourism destinations and national prestige as a whole.

Tonle Sap Lake, Kulen Mountain, Siem Reap town and surrounding areas have also been identified as zones for new tourism product development.