Cambodia seeks to attract Muslim tourists, awards halal certifications

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Cambodia Seeks To Attract Muslim Tourists, Awards Halal Certifications

The Cambodian Ministry of Tourism is targeting visitors from countries in the Middle East, a region believed to have great potential for the country’s tourism market.

The ministry says it has begun promoting Cambodia in various Gulf countries to increase the number of tourists and investors from there, the Khmer Times reported on May 17.

Ministry representatives in April participated in the Arabian Travel Market 2019 in Dubai, where interest in Cambodia ran high, according to spokesman Top Sopheak.

He said the ministry was aiming to diversify its tourism source market, which is now dominated by China.

“China is now Cambodia’s biggest tourism source market. There are also a lot of tourists from Asia and the European Union,” he said, adding that “tourists from Islamic countries are now a priority and to attract them, we are promoting Cambodia in the Middle East, and we hope to see more and more tourists from this region in years to come.”

Sopheak said that more flights connecting Cambodia with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates would help. As of now, Emirates operates a daily service between Dubai and Phnom Penh via Yangon. The airline also has a daily flight from Dubai to Phnom Penh via Bangkok. Qatar Airways flies daily from Doha to Phnom Penh with a layover in Ho Chi Minh City.

Meanwhile, the Cambodia government created a halal certification for local companies. The certification for food businesses is granted under strict food safety rules. So far, 39 out of around 60 applying companies received certification following official inspections.

Before getting a certificate, businesses have to go through inspections by officials under the Cambodian Halal Steering Committee. The committee is being monitored by the Ministry of Commerce. Companies awarded with a certificate are expected to comply with terms provided by the halal committee.

So far, Kampong Cham, Battambang and Kampot have lodged the highest number of halal certification applications, Khmer Times noted.

Plans to develop the halal sector form an important element of Cambodia’s industrial development policy 2015-2025 that aims to increase the percentage of the industrial sector to GDP, diversify the export of goods by increasing non-textile exports and promote the export of processed agricultural products. The production of food products and beverages is one of the sectors earmarked with incentives for investors.

Developing the halal sector is expected to open up Cambodia to inward investments from countries including Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as the Middle East.

About 700,000 out of a 16-million population in Cambodia are Muslim.


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The Cambodian Ministry of Tourism is targeting visitors from countries in the Middle East, a region believed to have great potential for the country's tourism market. The ministry says it has begun promoting Cambodia in various Gulf countries to increase the number of tourists and investors from there, the Khmer Times reported on May 17. Ministry representatives in April participated in the Arabian Travel Market 2019 in Dubai, where interest in Cambodia ran high, according to spokesman Top Sopheak. He said the ministry was aiming to diversify its tourism source market, which is now dominated by China. “China is now...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Cambodia Seeks To Attract Muslim Tourists, Awards Halal Certifications

The Cambodian Ministry of Tourism is targeting visitors from countries in the Middle East, a region believed to have great potential for the country’s tourism market.

The ministry says it has begun promoting Cambodia in various Gulf countries to increase the number of tourists and investors from there, the Khmer Times reported on May 17.

Ministry representatives in April participated in the Arabian Travel Market 2019 in Dubai, where interest in Cambodia ran high, according to spokesman Top Sopheak.

He said the ministry was aiming to diversify its tourism source market, which is now dominated by China.

“China is now Cambodia’s biggest tourism source market. There are also a lot of tourists from Asia and the European Union,” he said, adding that “tourists from Islamic countries are now a priority and to attract them, we are promoting Cambodia in the Middle East, and we hope to see more and more tourists from this region in years to come.”

Sopheak said that more flights connecting Cambodia with Qatar and the United Arab Emirates would help. As of now, Emirates operates a daily service between Dubai and Phnom Penh via Yangon. The airline also has a daily flight from Dubai to Phnom Penh via Bangkok. Qatar Airways flies daily from Doha to Phnom Penh with a layover in Ho Chi Minh City.

Meanwhile, the Cambodia government created a halal certification for local companies. The certification for food businesses is granted under strict food safety rules. So far, 39 out of around 60 applying companies received certification following official inspections.

Before getting a certificate, businesses have to go through inspections by officials under the Cambodian Halal Steering Committee. The committee is being monitored by the Ministry of Commerce. Companies awarded with a certificate are expected to comply with terms provided by the halal committee.

So far, Kampong Cham, Battambang and Kampot have lodged the highest number of halal certification applications, Khmer Times noted.

Plans to develop the halal sector form an important element of Cambodia’s industrial development policy 2015-2025 that aims to increase the percentage of the industrial sector to GDP, diversify the export of goods by increasing non-textile exports and promote the export of processed agricultural products. The production of food products and beverages is one of the sectors earmarked with incentives for investors.

Developing the halal sector is expected to open up Cambodia to inward investments from countries including Indonesia and Malaysia, as well as the Middle East.

About 700,000 out of a 16-million population in Cambodia are Muslim.


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