BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA
The Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Sok An, Minister in Charge of the Council of Ministers has announced that Cambodia will host the first Meeting of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee (WHC) in Cambodia in 2012.
The Annual Meeting of the World Heritage Committee will take place in Siem Reap province where is a former Khmer empire which has many rich ancient heritage, traditions, arts and culture in the mid 2012 with the participation of 187 countries who are WHC’s members in the world.
“As a full member and Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in 2009, Cambodia has the rights to obligate its duties and this will be the first time and historical event that Cambodia will host the Meeting of World Heritage Committee Cambodia, the Kingdom of Wonder,” he said during his opening remarks delivered to the ASEAN Tourism Forum 2011 in Phnom Penh on September 6th.
H.E. Dr. Sok An pointed out that the purpose of the meeting is to determine properties which are submitted by WHC’s member countries and will be added to the UNESCO’s World Heritage list. The meeting will also monitor the state of conservation of properties already inscribed on the list and discuss possible candidates for removal.
The meeting is to promote foreign tourists visiting Cambodia as well as to disseminate Khmer tradition, custom, culture, and other Cambodian eco-natural tourism to the countries in the region and the world.
H.E. Dr. Sok An said that the Kingdom of Cambodia has become a Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in 2009. According to its membership of the World Heritage Committee, Cambodia has the full rights and obligation to attend every annual meeting of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in the world in order to discuss and include new artefacts which are submitted by other countries for including into the World Heritage lists.
Since Cambodia has become the member of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, Cambodia registered many temples and other heritages into the World Heritage lists. They are Angkor Wat Temple, Preah Vihear Temple, Robam Preah Reach Troap, Lakhon Sramuol Sbaek Thom, and Tonle Sap Lake, according to H.E. Dr. Sok An.
H.E. Dr. Thong Khon, Minister of Tourism, said that besides the Meeting of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, Cambodia also plans to host the 30th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2011) 2011 under the theme of “ASEAN - A World of Wonders and Diversity” on January 15-21, 2011 at the newly built Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center, in Phnom Penh.
The Minister stated that over 1,600 delegates who include 400 international buyers and 100 international media from ASEAN’s member countries will participate in this historical event in Cambodia.
“We are proud and honored for Phnom Penh capital to be chosen once again to host ATF. There has been a lot of development in infrastructure and facilities since Phnom Penh first hosted ATF in 2003,” he said. “Siem Reap province, home of world heritage and the archeological sites, and Preah Sihanouk province, the most beautiful and pristine beach, have been selected for pre- and post-tours,” he added.
He added: “As host of ATF 2011, it is my great pleasure to warmly welcome all distinguished delegates and guests to ATF 2011 in Cambodia with our gracious hospitality and we wish you a great success and pleasant stay in Cambodia- Kingdom of Wonder.”
The tourism industry of Cambodia remains status-quo of its increase; even though, the incident of skirmish occurred along the Cambodian-Thai frontier in the area nearby the world famous Preah Vihear Temple -- the World Heritage on the 15th of October 2008. Now, the situation was peacefully resolved without any affect to tourism industry and business, he said.
According to the Ministry of Tourism, over 1,000 temples in Cambodia in which over 800 temples are located in Siem Reap province and hundreds of tourist attractions, archeological sites, beautiful and pristine beaches are located in cities and provinces across the Kingdom of Cambodia. There are about 2.4 million foreign tourists visited in Cambodia in 2009. //