Mondulkiri Tourism Development Master Plan
The government has approved the draft Mondulkiri Tourism Development Master Plan 2021-2035, as part of a larger push to lure three million domestic and international visitors yearly to the regional verdant biodiverse powerhouse in northeastern Cambodia 2035.
The master plan will supplement a 2021-2025 three-phased national tourism roadmap and a 2021-2035 Siem Reap provincial tourism development master plan – both formally approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 1 – to guide the sector’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Council of Ministers, or Cabinet, announced in a letter dated August 12.
The Inter-Ministerial Commission for Master Planning, chaired by Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, researched, designed, and prepared the Mondulkiri master plan, which began in August 2020 and was completed in its final form this month, with extensive engagement and consultation at the national and sub-national levels, all within the inter-ministerial framework.
Tourism in Mondulkiri is expanding
In a letter dated August 9, Hun Sen stated that tourism in Mondulkiri is expanding, with significant potential for development. The master plan will significantly accelerate economic growth in the province and the rest of the Kingdom.
Keeping this in mind, he stated that the government would direct growth within the province’s strategic framework, depending on the current situation and accessible and conceivable resources for investment and development in tourism and other economic sectors.
The prime minister expressed confidence that the master plan would support sustainable and accountable tourism development, resulting in socio-economic benefits for locals and contributing to the maintenance, protection, and conservation of natural resources, cultural heritage, and the province’s original identity.
Mondulkiri as a worldwide eco-tourism destination
The government has also decided to designate Mondulkiri as a worldwide eco-tourism destination as well as a significant provider of flowers, vegetables, fruits, and meats to fulfil domestic needs while also allowing for exports.
These are the natural eco-tourism regions and corridors of the five wildlife sanctuaries; the Bou Sra-Dak Dam Cultural and Ecotourism Corridor; the province capital Sen Monorom town; and the area in O’Raing district associated with the building of a much-anticipated regional-level airport.
The last two are the urban regions of Koh Nhek’s northern district and the integrated tourism zones along the international border, which borders Vietnam’s Binh Phuong, Dak Nong, and Dak Lak provinces.
Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia chapter, stated that the master plan would support and direct tourism development in the province. The plan would also protect and conserve natural forest areas plagued by land grabs and would provide numerous benefits to tourism players as well as direct and indirect stakeholders.
Sinan believes that Mondulkiri has more tourist potential than any other province and is home to Cambodia’s most ecologically friendly eco-tourism zones, which are blessed with magnificent grasslands and a plethora of waterfalls.
The human resource pool in Mondulkiri for tourism and associated industries is still limited, he noted.
Training human resources in hospitality and creating awareness among people about tourism’s critical role in economic growth are critical issues that the government must prioritize, he added.
Ngin Sovimean, director of the Mondulkiri provincial Department of Tourism, stated that the master plan would serve as a roadmap, implying that it would also address several developing concerns while enhancing the province’s appeal to attract more investors and visitors.
He expressed optimism that the strategy will spur and speed new infrastructure projects, mentioning the regional airport planned for the O’Raing district’s Sen Monorom commune as an example.
Sovimean said the airport was under the control of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation and did not give any information (SSCA).
The government originally said that the airport would be built on a 300-acre location with an estimated $80 million expenditure. However, in February, SSCA spokeswoman Sin Chansereyvutha told The Post that the project might begin next year.