Phnom Penh, June 16 (IANS) The European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) has named Cambodia as the World Best Tourism Destination for 2016.
Some 30 countries joined the competition for the illustrious award this year, an ECTT press release issued late Wednesday said, adding that Cambodia presented its report for the competition under the title ‘Cambodia: The Land of Magic-The Place Where Gods And Kings Build the World!’.
Cambodia took the top spot in awards owing to its rich cultural and historical legacy and outstanding natural beauty.
“Cambodia is a perfectly safe and outstanding destination that will forever mark your heart,” said Professor Anton Caragea, president of the Bucharest-headquartered ECTT, which consists of 28 European countries as members.
Cambodia is renowned for two cultural sites in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. One is the 12th century Angkor Archeological Park in Siem Reap province and the other is the 11th century Preah Vihear Temple in Preah Vihear province.
Besides, the Southeast Asian nation has many interesting eco-tourism sites, including a 450-km pristine coastline stretching across four provinces in the country’s southwestern part.
The country attracted some 4.8 million foreign tourists in 2015, earning gross revenue of more than $3 billion, according to the Ministry of Tourism.
Pavel Avramoiu, director for Hotel Management and Evaluation at ECTT, said Cambodia has huge potential for tourism development.
“Cambodia, now proclaimed World Best Tourist Destination, must transform this perfect opportunity and universal limelight in a base for attracting investors in the field of hotels and hospitality to cater for the millions that will find their ways to the Kingdom of Wonders and Land of Magic,” he said.
Last year’s award winner was the African country of Ethiopia.