In a significant move to enhance the bilateral relations between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Cambodia, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco and Cambodian Tourism Minister Dr. Thong Khon engaged in a fruitful meeting on Thursday, June 15, 2023, on the sidelines of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Commission meetings and discussions held in the capital of Cambodia.

Recognizing the Kingdom of Cambodia as a crucial partner in tourism development, Secretary Frasco explored potential areas of collaboration, with a particular focus on heritage conservation, management, and monitoring. Cambodia, renowned for three UNESCO World Heritage sites, serves as a valuable model for sustainable tourism practices.

“We greatly value the long-standing relationship between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the Republic of the Philippines as we welcome sixty-six years of our diplomatic relations. At the same time, we commend the Kingdom of Cambodia for your great success, especially in terms of heritage conservation and management, and your ability to ensure sustainability. Therefore, the Philippines is very interested in collaborating with Cambodia for joint efforts and the exchange of best practices in heritage conservation and management,” said Secretary Frasco.

Highlighting the Philippines’ strength in Education Tourism, Secretary Frasco emphasized the country’s robust English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

“We also recognize the great strides with which you had implemented the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement on Tourism Professionals (MRA-TP), and we compliment the efforts you have made in upskilling your tourism workers. This is a priority for the Philippine government; therefore, we would be interested in exploring how we can work together in further developing our tourism manpower. In addition to that, we would be very happy to work with you on our ESL program,” added the tourism chief.

Secretary Frasco expressed interest in collaborating on medical tourism and acknowledged Cambodia’s efforts in the ASEAN-MRA-TP. Both ministers agreed on the necessity of prioritizing air access and route development between the two countries.

Having signed an implementation program for tourism cooperation Memorandum of Understanding with Cambodia in 2016, Tourism Secretary Frasco formally conveyed the Philippines’ acceptance of Cambodia’s desire to renew the agreement, which received a positive reception from Minister Khon.

“As I understand, Cambodia is host to over 7000 Filipinos, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the warmth and the love with which you have received the Filipino people. The same treatment awaits you and the people of Cambodia, whose tourist numbers we hope to be able to grow with the signing of our implementation program,” said Secretary Frasco.

The bilateral meeting serves as a testament to the commitment of both nations to strengthen ties and foster collaboration in the field of tourism for mutual benefit.

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