What fascinates you most about Asia?
An easy question to open up an array of “typical” answers which are all very valid and true; the people, the cultures, the weather, the food, natural treasures and I can go on like this and they all add up to what makes this region fascinating. Some people like a lot of specific a thing, for example “foodies”. What fascinates me is a mixture of all of the above and how this is displayed in a particular setting, enabling completely immersive experiences. A key ingredient is the people that make this diversity possible and the accessibility helps as well. You can trek through mountain villages, get lost in major cities, visit archeological wonders or snorkel in tropical waters -all in a matter of days.
What do you look forward to most about your new role?
What I look forward to the most is to work together with some of the most experienced people in tourism in Cambodia. The core team has such immense knowledge and are all amazing experts in their field. For me it’s an honor to be there working alongside and soaking up all the information possible from them.
On a personal level there is the thrill of getting to know the finer details of Cambodia -the experience of living in a new city and being a stranger in town. Also, I look forward to diving deeper into the culture and heritage of Cambodia. Exploring the remote corners is just such an exciting adventure, and I can’t wait to use the knowledge gained from this time to inspire our team and our agents.
Purely work related, I very much look forward to the new dynamics in the new role. In my current role, I cover most facets of the business, from sales to product up to operations and guide trainings which, by all means, is as dynamic as it comes and, in many ways, this will be incredibly useful in the new position. The extra dynamic that I look forward to diving into is the deeper involvement in other departments. I can’t wait to crunch finer details of a MICE arrival, triple check hotels for our LUXE customers or even just have a closer look at what vehicles we are using for our FIT guests. I relish the opportunity to deep-dive into how we can better serve our partners and guests.
How do you see Cambodia evolving as a tourism destination in the future?
Cambodia is such an amazing destination with so much more potential. With the current travel trend as is, we’re seeing more requests from people that prefer to spend more time in each destination. This plays perfectly into what makes Cambodia such an amazing destination. From the rich history that Cambodia is famous for, I think we will see Cambodia evolving into a destination where people spend a full week or more getting below the surface to discover hidden gems and little-seen places instead of just the highlights in a couple of days.
The destination has always been popular for MICE and general sightseeing. In recent years there has been increased interest coming from the Adventure sector for those seeking multi-day trekking or cycling trips. There has also been significant development of Cambodia’s wildlife reserves which are teeming with life. In the years ahead, I would love to showcase more of Cambodia’s amazing biodiversity and to become an active player in helping preserve it for future generations.
Additionally, with the increase in top notch hotels, stunning beach resorts and secret hideaways, Cambodia has become increasingly suitable to the luxe segment -something we are specialized in.
All in all, I think Cambodia is only at the beginning of its full potential and it’s exciting just to think of all the amazing things that can be done which will allow us to give back to the local communities and the sustainable development of the region while also showing guests the very best of it.
What are some potential positive to emerge in this post-pandemic era?
I think, in general, that people have had time to reflect during the pandemic. Forced lockdowns around the world made us appreciate our freedom and interpersonal relationships even more than before. In travel, I think this will translate into less interest in just ticking off highlights and instead people will want to learn more about different cultures, experience them through hands-on activities and while spending more time in a location really getting to know people and their traditions.
Experiential travel will tie in well with our sustainability goals as this will allow us to create much more meaningful experiences through workshops with local communities which will provide stable jobs while preserving traditional crafts and culture.
What challenges does Cambodian tourism face post-covid?
The biggest challenge Cambodia will face is the same challenge every destination has faced after two years of lockdowns: rebuilding confidence and bringing people back into the fold of tourism. Luckily, we have an incredible team behind us and have been operating in Cambodia for 22 years. Furthermore, Cambodia has only just begun to tap into its true potential as a tourism destination, so the only direction to go from here is up, and I am incredibly excited to be a part of it.