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Cambodia & Tourism - Conference (1) : Jef Moons, "creating a coastal destination that offers an active experience beyond conventional expectations"

At a recent conference attended by over 250 people - both online and on site - on the theme of "Cambodia's Secret: Discovering the Gems of the Coast", with the support of the Cambodia Tourism Federation and a number of industry partners, Jef Moons opened the proceedings by stressing the need for Cambodia to move from being a secondary destination to a primary, self-sustaining destination.

Jef Moon, founder and CEO of Knai Bang Chatt by Kep West
Jef Moons, founder and CEO of Knai Bang Chatt by Kep West

At the opening of the conference, which was held at the Sun & Moon Riverside and online, Jef Moons began by emphasising the importance of playing the regional card, and that agreement between the ASEAN countries would be essential if Cambodia was to be promoted to its full potential.

"We must act with one voice at regional level to bring tourists back to our country", he said, adding that Cambodia was sparing no effort in this regard:

"To meet all these challenges, it is good to know that today there is excellent teamwork between the Minister of Tourism, businesses, the private sector, the public sector, hotel organisations and travel experts."

According to the hotelier, these efforts should soon enable the country to become a "priority and autonomous tourist destination". However, he added that it was necessary to be imaginative by creating "original reasons for tourists to not just visit the temples, but to stay longer and travel south".

Tourist as opposed to Traveller

Let's be honest," continued Mr Moons,founder and CEO of Knai Bang Chatt by Kep West, "tourists are often looking to have a good time, enjoying popular attractions and familiar surroundings. The traveller, on the other hand, is open to the unknown, living unique experiences and cultural immersions, venturing beyond the traditional tourist spots".

According to Moons, travellers don't just look for places of interest. They seek to discover the soul of the destination.

"To secure and maintain a leading position in today's travel market, it is essential to continually create unique experiences that go beyond the ordinary tourist trip," he said, adding:

"We need to think about travel schemes that inform, captivate and redefine excitement, and that also align with the ever-evolving perspectives of our visitor-travellers. We need to go beyond the boundaries of what is considered traditional and planned by everyone."

Jef Moons also explained that, with this in mind, it was essential to create a coastal destination that offers an active experience, going beyond conventional hotel expectations and going beyond conventional service:

"A trip should be life-changing, and together we need to propose and build new experiences by showcasing the countless aspects of the Cambodian coast. These aspects include culture, nature and preservation, as well as a multitude of activities and excursions".

Sport, art, lifestyle and wellness events are also among the travel concepts that Mr Moons wants to promote, arguing that a genuine travel experience is much more than a change of direction. "It's an effort to captivate and connect with a new generation of conscious travellers. They want uncharted territory and see spontaneity as an essential aspect of their travel philosophy. Ultimately, our goal is to create and become the centre of sustainability and an inclusive travel destination for Kep and Kampot, fostering meaningful connections between people and nature, which will have a positive impact on both the community and the environment for future generations," he added before concluding:

"We need to offer a unique blend of two worlds by promoting a holistic travel solution that creates opportunities and allows people to truly travel."

To be continued

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