On December 9, 2017 in the presence of over 3.000 guests, diplomats, tourism and culture experts, members of the Parliamentary Assembly for the Sustainable Development Goals, members of the Royal Government of Cambodia and of the Royal Parliament of Cambodia and European Council on Tourism and Trade delegates and many others high level guests attended the official ceremony for WORLD CAPITAL OF CULTURE AND TOURISM handover for PHNOM PENH has taken place.


In the pomp and ceremony of the event the Director of The EUROPEAN TOURISM ACADEMY, Academician Dr. MIRCEA CONSTANTINESCU outlined the reasons and the arguments for the inscription of Phnom Penh as one of the world landmark cities.

The video of the Academician Mircea CONSTANTINESCU key note speech for PHNOM PENH: WORLD CAPITAL OF CULTURE AND TOURISM can be accessed here.

This is the full text of the presentation:

ACADEMICIAN MIRCEA CONSTANTINESCU: Phnom Penh - is a city that it embraces with warmth and gentle attention the soul of the travelers and it’s the real gate to Asia and the unique gem that shines over us with the light of culture and distinction.







Your Excellency Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN- Prime Minister of Kingdom of Cambodia,

Your Excellency Dr. Thong Khon - Minister of Tourism,

Esteemed members of Royal Government of Cambodia, members of Parliament of Cambodia, distinguished member’s diplomatic corps

Dear guests,

 All protocol observed,


Today is a historical day, is the day when we inscribe the name of another model city on the humanity list of WORLD`S CAPITALS OF CULTURE AND TOURISM.

In carving up the World Capital of Culture and Tourism Program 11 years ago, European Tourism Academy and European Council on Tourism and Trade (ECTT) set for themselves the ambitious task of establishing a world list of cities and regions that are encompassing the legacy of humanity, that are harboring traditions and costumes unique or hosting natural treasures considered to be of outstanding and universal value.


We are ensuring their presence in the limelight so that we and the future generations can enjoy the world's patrimony wealth and it's variety.


The international community must give much more support to the activities promoting the heritage, which is central to our civilizations and this is the main role of WORLD CAPITAL OF CULTURE AND TOURISM designation.


During last year`s THE WORLD CAPITAL OF CULTURE AND TOURISM program enlarged and enriched his focus becoming a part of THE AGENDA FOR HUMANITY and a part of the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda being part and parcel of the global efforts destined to eradicate inequalities, ensure growth, develop education and cultural opportunities for all and supporting investment and development and integration policies where there are more needed.


From an essentially global cultural and tourism program we have evolved in line with the world commitments and concerns onto a world level development program.


On this note I must salute the Government of Kingdom of Cambodia commitment to fulfilling the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals of United Nations and for ensuring that Phnom Penh it is and continues to be a placed for development, creativity, encouragement of free enterprise and initiative and inclusiveness for all who come to this beautiful city.

Inscribing PHNOM PENH as a WORLD CAPITAL OF CULTURE AND TOURISM we recognize that culture and history are not resource consumers, but are major economic and development factors, that help countries to develop and enrich themselves in more ways than just simple economic value.

Culture is undoubtedly a fundamental part of our life, is marking our identity and is facilitates our encounter, our dialogue, it helps us to share experiences, to search for unknown territories, to go further and further, is inscribed in our fiber and it defines us, is make us human.

Registering PHNOM PENH as a WORLD CAPITAL OF CULTURE AND TOURISM we are taking act of the Government of Prime Minister Academician HUN SEN commitments and incredible achievements of the last 30 years in carving cultural and heritage protection programs, in ensuring a permanent growth in the quality of patrimony protection and consolidation, in ensuring the preservation and fostering of religions, traditions and cultural and traditional activities.

Today, PHNOM PENH is fulfilling the trademarks of what we are calling the cultural landscape marked by the existence of "mixed properties", blending natural properties and cultural properties.


It designates areas where there has been a harmonious interaction between man and nature over a long period, linked to a particular culture, and which provides evidence of a traditional way of life in which nature and culture are profoundly interlinked.


Cultural landscapes are described in Article 1 of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage as representing "the combined works of nature and man".



PHNOM PENH is such a generous area: encompassing the natural setting provided by the confluence of three rivers: the mighty Mekong, the Bassac and the great Tonle Sap, the world unique river that is flowing upwards the stream for six months a year.

This perfect natural landscape has become the setting of a rich cultural city that encompasses religious monuments and heritage treasures like: Wat Ounalom the 1443 shrine built for a sacred hair of the Buddha and considered the seat of Cambodian Buddhism who will celebrate 575 years of continuously and uninterrupted religious activities.



Another landmark is the famous Wat Phnom, built in 1372 and restored and reconstructed in 1434, 1806, 1894 and 1926 and has become a symbol of the capital city Phnom Penh and regularly used for prayer, small offerings, and meditation.

It is a specially charged place connected with the legendary figure of grandmother Penh and from 15th century King Ponhea Yat built the capital in Phnom Penh around this sacred mountain used for keeping the cremated ash of the King.


The mountain of Wat Phnom has been transformed in the last 700 years in a place that is uniting Buddhist statues of the Angkorean era with art crafts from the medieval and modern area and also a royal necropolis hosting the stupas for keeping cremated ash of the Royal families.


Other religious places and cultural landmarks are Wat Langka who is reputedly one of Phnom Penh’s five original Wats (1422). Established as a sanctuary for the Holy Writings and a meeting place for Cambodian and Sri Lankan monks, the Wat was named in honor of these meetings.


Wat Botum Padei also one of the oldest religious buildings still in use in the city from 1422 and is compound, is crowded with ornate and colorful stupas, including the towering ‘Buddha’s Relic Stupa.



Wat Koh another one of the city’s five original Wats, established in the early 15th century and Wat Neak Kravorn situated in a perfect picturesque skyline of Boeung Kak lake.


PHNOM PENH is not only the seat of rich cultural and religious objectives but is also presenting a long list of tourism centers from the famed Russian Market, Old Market, Central Market, Night Market and a large array of traditional markets, to the incredible riches of the National Museum having on display more than 5,000 works of art, ranging from the 7th to the 13th century. Treasures include sculptures, 19th-century dance costumes, royal barges and palanquins.



I will just note on the lines the incredible cultural potential of Phnom Penh the fact that: NATIONAL MUSEUM OF CAMBODIA was voted as a WORLD`S FAVORITE MUSEUM for the incredible treasures encompassing more than 14.000 priceless artifacts and for the perfect ways that are displayed and imbuing the visitors with the message of culture.

Phnom Penh is far from being just a huge open-air repository of temples, stupas, palaces and incredible museums it is also a place where the energy of his peoples is channeled into huge celebrations like Moon Festival, Water Festival, Royal Ploughing Day, Khmer New Year or famed Buddha Day-Visakh Bochea Day.



It is a city that it embraces with warmth and gentle attention the soul of the travelers and it’s the real gate to Asia and the unique gem that shines over us with the light of culture and distinction. I also take this moment to congratulate the Ministry of tourism on the initiative to create a special walking riverine prospect offering for tourists the opportunity to stroll around the banks of the famous Mekong.

Initiatives like this are creating the image of a friendly and traveler welcoming city, an image that Phnom Penh so richly deserves.


We can say that the European Council on Tourism and Trade was confronted with an easy conundrum at the question: IT IS? OR IT IS NOT PHNOM PENH a WORLD CAPITAL OF CULTURE AND TOURISM?


The positive answer was clear keeping in mind the impressive history of the city, the enormous cultural and heritage potential of Phnom Penh and the plans put in place by the Government of H.E. Prime Minister HUN SEN in order to carve out an ever better future for the peoples of the city and for those who come to share the life of the gem of Asia: the incredible PHNOM PENH - the city of waters, the gift of Cambodia to the world.



Your Excellency Prime Minister of the Royal Government of Cambodia HUN SEN,



It is my privilege to handover to Your Excellency, as the most representative leader of people and tourism of KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA the award for PHNOM PENH – THE WORLD CAPITAL OF CULTURE AND TOURISM.