PHNOM PENH, 1 March 2017: Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen has called on the country’s hospitality sector to increase the use of locally grown produce at tourist destinations to improve rural economies.
Emphasising the country’s green tourism policy, the PM told local media that cleanness and greenness were trends that needed to be adopted for the benefit of the economy and a clean tourism environment.
He called for a Green Belt to be established at the country’s main tourist areas to supply holidaymakers with local produce, instead of importing them from neighbouring countries.
Khmer Times media quoted Siem Reap province governor, Khim Bunsong, saying for food safety purposes it was better to serve tourists, both local and foreign, with foods that are guaranteed chemically-free.
But the challenge is to source vegetables and even rice that is not contaminated by chemicals. Rice growers across Southeast Asia use insecticides and chemicals.
He added: “We are trying source where chemical-free vegetables can be grown to meet the needs of restaurants and hotels catering to tourists.”
The PM’s scheme initiative would meet the demand of big restaurants and hotels that need of chemical-free vegetables and meats, according to Cambodia National Tourism Alliance general secretary Ho Vandy.
“Star-rated hotels and restaurants need organic vegetables and quality meat to serve to their customers…if we meet their needs, it will be good not only for tourism, but also for the income of farmers.”
Last year, the country welcomed 5,011,712 international travellers improving 5.0% from 4,775,231 visits in 2015.
By the end of 2016, there were 647 hotels, 1,996 guesthouses, 1,844 restaurants, 588 tourist agencies and 5,088 guides registered nationwide.
Cambodia expects to attract around 7 million foreign tourists by 2020.