PHNOM PENH, 17 February 2015: Cambodia’s tourist arrivals registered an increase of 15.9% in December 2014 according to the country’s statistics and tourist Information Department.
The country attracted 500,579 visits compared to 431,807 during the same month in 2013.
For the entire year, the country welcomed 4,502,775 international travellers improving 7.0% from 4,210,165 visits in 2013.
Released by the Ministry of Tourism, Monday, data for December showed Vietnam led the field with 102,210 visits increasing 41.5% from 72,255 during the same month in 2013.
Other top markets were: Laos (56,089; +46.4%); China (52,475; +14.4%); South Korea (46,087; -12.3%); and Thailand (33,317; +67.6%).
Meanwhile, Phnom Penh Airport received a market share of 18.4% (92,195), mainly business travellers who needed to contact government departments, or budget travellers starting or finishing their overland trips.
Overland travel accounts for 48.1% (240,970) travel through checkpoints with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, while sea travel is a small at 2.8% (13,993).
In addition, the data showed tourist arrivals to Phnom Penh and other destinations accounted be 44.9% attracting 250,763 visits, while Siem Reap province a home of Angkor Wat posted a share of 44.8% welcoming 249,816 visits. Coastal areas also shared 9.3% with 51,972 visits while ecotourism areas accounted be 1.0% receiving 5,541 visits.
By region, Asia Pacific accounted for a 77.6% market share and posted an increase of 21.1% on 388,250 visits.
The Middle East recorded an increase of 32.7% with 1,547 visits following by Africa (+24.5%; 1,122), Americas (+10.6%; 31,518), Oceania (+9.0; 20,958), and Europe (-3.2%; 78,142).
Deputy Prime Minister and Cabinet Minister, Sok An, said although 2014 closed with a 7% growth in travel, it was low when compared to the 17% increase in 2013.
“The slow growth was caused by situations in neighbouring countries such as Thailand’s political turmoil and Vietnamese riots against Chinese enterprises last May.”
Tourism, which generated over 500,000 direct jobs, accounted for 16% of the country’s USD16.7 billion GDP, last year, he said, noting that cultural heritage had greatly contributed to sustainable tourism development.
Travel to the country should reach 5 million trips in 2015 and 7.5 million by 2020.
Tourism injected USD3 billion into Cambodia’s economy in 2014, which would rise to USD5 billion by 2020.