PRIME Minister Hun Sen called on investors to bolster health services, including emergency helicopter evacuation service, for tourists during a health conference at the University of Health Sciences on Monday.
"I encourage anyone to provide helicopter service for the transfer of patients needing emergency relief. I will approve increasing this kind of service," he told the conference.
He said improvements in emergency care would target wealthier patients and tourists who fall ill or are injured during their visits to Cambodia.
He added that helicopter services would not only benefit local residents and foreign tourists, but visiting dignitaries from abroad.
Cambodia attracts two million tourists each year and they need reliable health care services, Hun Sen said.
"They will know that in our country they will have access to reliable health care. This is a necessary improvement that we need to make in the healthcare sector," he said.
Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said Cambodia has only a few clinics that offer health care services specifically to tourists, such as the International SOS and Naga clinics in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
He said Cambodia expects to see as many as 2.3 million tourists arriving by the end of 2008 and that the country needs to be able to provide reliable health care services for short- or long-term illness or injury.
Thong Khon said state hospitals in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap should be equipped to meet the needs of Cambodia's foreign tourists.
Heng Pouv, general manager of the Naga Clinic emergency room, said most of the patients are foreign tourists.