In my first blog of the year, I wanted to reflect on my recent holiday to rural Cambodia. My visit confirmed something I already knew, “The Disproportionate Growth of Tourism”. A mere 37km from Phnom Penh, my family and I discovered an interesting temple and beautiful monastery with paintings and Buddha sculptures that would equal a visit to Saint Paul of Rome. What surprised us the most is that there was not a single tourist in sight; we were the only souls around apart from the monks. We had the place to ourselves and were able to take our time to enjoy our visit peacefully. Along the road to Kandal, where the Monastery is located, we were able to enjoy the beautiful landscape of rural Cambodia and sceneries from the daily life of the communities we were passing by. This gave us the opportunity to create the perfect holiday picture album to share with friends and show what the real Cambodia looks like.
The Disproportionate Growth of Tourism, or what I would personally call “The Bucket List Phenomena”, is something affecting many countries and regions around the globe. The problem is that it is not sustainable, already sites like Angor Wat and others around the globe have too many visitors, more than they can cope with to the point where sites are getting damaged and their future sustainability threatened. A country’s beauty is not defined by one famous location, but by its people and diversity in what it has to offer. Ticking the box of one historical site does not give us the full perspective and appreciation of a nation.
At PATA we believe that there is a pressing need for the public and private sector to work together in planning, building and promoting the uniqueness and diversity of each country’s offering. It requires cooperation between all parties to identify the infrastructure, air connectivity and marketing required to help disperse tourists to less visited areas in order to build a sustainable tourism product. Together we can help spread the wealth that tourism can bring for a peaceful and harmonious future.
This subject will be the theme of my presentation at the ASEAN Ministerial meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on January 25th. Expect to hear more about this topic, which is dear to my heart, throughout the year, it will be something that we will address and discuss in several of our events and activities in 2015.
Till next time,
Chief Executive Officer