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Cambodia towns set for Unesco’s Creative City Network

Khorn Savi The Phnom Penh Post Mon, February 3, 2020

A view of Battambang town (above), which consists of more than 800 historic Khmer and colonial-era buildings. This makes it suitable for Unesco’s Creative City status. Hong Menea

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. Hong Menea

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.

The same Facebook post said Khon and Unesco agreed to jointly identify ecotourism areas across the Kingdom.

Unesco has expressed its support for the rapid introduction of the Four-Strategic Plan for Tourism Development aimed at reviving tourism in the Kingdom’s northern provinces.

The ministry and an inter-ministerial working group will focus on six priority areas – Angkor Archaeological Park, Siem Reap town, the Tonle Sap river, Prek Toal village, Phnom Kulen mountain and Banteay Srei District.

Unesco experts will assess and provide feedback on the draft of this masterplan for tourism development in the northern provinces.

https://phnompenhpost.com/national/towns-set-unescos-creative-city-network?fbclid=IwAR0anSkc7GkrsJfBgKPgWUoOiOvutNR7hRS704t5HSZbd_SHw_fX2KIBd0U

From: THE PHNOM PENH POST (CAMBODIA) Mon, February 3, 2020

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