05 Feb 2020
UNESCO representatives on Friday met with Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, marking the next step in the Kingdom’s efforts to add Battambang, Kampot and Kratie towns to the Creative City Network.
Unesco representative to Cambodia Sardar Umar Alam led the delegation and discussed strengthening collaboration in cultural tourism, ecotourism, urban tourism and food tourism with the ministry.
Ministry spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on Monday that Battambang town consists of more than 800 historic Khmer and colonial-era buildings, which makes it suitable for Unesco’s Creative City status.
Kampot town consists of more than 300 of them, he said, adding that there are fewer in Kratie town. The three towns are also first-rate alternative tourist destinations to the more famous Angkor Archaeological Park.
“The Battambang Provincial Hall is a historic relic left to us from the French era,” he said.
Unesco has expressed its support for Cambodia and will incorporate some of its towns to its Creative City Network, the ministry said on Saturday via Facebook.
“Unesco will take a look at some of Cambodia’s towns, particularly Battambang, Kratie and Kampot, which sufficiently satisfy the criteria necessary for their inclusion to the list,” the post said.
Sopheak said Unesco’s assessment of the towns could be taken in many phases before receiving formal recognition.
“Normally, before recognition, Unesco has to go down to study and assess [the towns] on several occasions. It is we who initially suggested them, and Unesco immediately agreed.
“The towns are currently under study and assessment. We don’t know when Unesco will recognise them,” he said.
Unesco’s Creative City Network was established in 2004 to promote collaborations among various cities, which have defined innovation as strategic factors for the sustainable development of cities.
Sopheak said this was the first time the Kingdom submitted the three towns to Unesco for Creative City status. However, he noted that the qualities required for the status differed from those needed to become a World Heritage City.
“We intend for the towns to be recognised as Creative Cities for the benefit of further promoting the tourism sector. However, the qualities of the World Heritage City carry more weight than this Creative City Network,” he said.