Minister of Tourism Thong Khon has been appointed as chairman of the 2021-2035 Mondulkiri Tourism Development Master Plan Steering Committee, to steward the work of transforming the northeastern province of Mondulkiri into one of Cambodia’s most captivating tourist destinations.
The government on November 5 issued a sub-decree to establish the committee to spearhead the implementation of the 15-year master plan, which was approved on August 12.
State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) chief Mao Havannall, environment minister Say Samal and his agriculture and culture counterparts Veng Sakhon and Phoeung Sackona have been appointed as deputy chairpersons, and 20 political leaders from various ministries and institutions as members.
The committee is to act as a strong and permanent institutional mechanism to lead the implementation of the master plan, and is authorised to review and approve investment projects, tourism developments and relevant inter-sectoral support in Mondulkiri, as indicated in the master plan’s action agenda.
Deputy provincial governor Cheak Mengheang told The Post on November 9 that now was the ideal time to set up the committee, as Covid-19 eases up a bit.
Although the master plan is expected to double the pace of tourism growth in Mondulkiri, the province faces numerous challenges surrounding food, clean water and infrastructure, he said.
“Our province still comes up short, given the big development ambitions we have, especially today as we develop the clean water sector, renovating a few lakes.
“We come up short, due to the lack of roads to some resorts – we have yet to upgrade them due to budget constraints,” he added.
Mondulkiri provincial Department of Tourism director Ngin Sovimean told The Post that the master plan would not only support tourism, but also guide the inter-sectoral collaboration necessary to beef up water resources, the availability of the necessary food products, roads and infrastructure, electricity, and accommodation facilities and services.
The master plan will complement a 2021-2025 three-phased national tourism roadmap and a 2021-2035 Siem Reap provincial tourism development master plan – formally approved by Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 1 – to navigate the sector’s emergence from the Covid-19 pandemic and support its recovery, the Council of Ministers, or Cabinet, noted in a letter on August 12.
A regional airport is planned for O’Raing district’s Sen Monorom commune in the province, which the government has said would be built on a 300ha site and developed with an estimated capital investment of $80 million.
SSCA spokesman Sin Chansereyvutha told The Post in February that the project could break ground next year.