PHNOM PENH, 10 February 2017: Cambodia’s tourist arrivals improved 5.0% during January to December 2016, according to the Statistics and Tourist Information Department.
Released by the Ministry of Tourism, Thursday, the data showed the country welcomed 5,011,712 international travellers compared to 4,775,231 visits in 2015.
By region, Asia Pacific accounted for a 77.0% market share and posted a slight increase of 3.9%, or 3,861,505 visits from 3,716,688.
Although showing a decline of 2.8%, Vietnam led the supply markets with 959,663 visits in 2016 compared to 987,792 visits in 2015.
Other markets in the top five were: China (830,003; +19.5%); Thailand (398,081; +13.8%); Laos (369,335; -8.9%); and South Korea (357,194; -9.6%).
The data showed 54.0% (2,704,367) of all international visitors arrived by airlines. Siem Reap Airport received the major market share, 30.1% (1,507,039), while Phnom Penh Airport secured a market share of 23.2% (1,164,240) and Sihanoukville Airport just 0.7% (33,088).
Overland travel accounted for 43.0% (2,153,932) through checkpoints with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, while sea travel was a small 3.1% (153,413).
In addition, the data showed tourist arrivals to Phnom Penh and other destinations accounted for 49.1% (2,806,438 visits), while Siem Reap province, home of Angkor Wat, enjoyed a market share of 38.5% (2,205,274 visits). Coastal areas had a market share of 11.2% with 643,289 visits, while ecotourism areas accounted for just 1.2% (66,349 visits).
Outbound trips by Cambodians reached 1,434,030 up 20.1% for overall of 2016 year from 1,194,018 trips in 2015.
Phnom Penh Post quoted Tourism Minister Thong Khon saying to boost the country tourism industry, a seven-step plan will be followed to improve standards.
The plan focuses on professional management of business licences and strengthening revenue collection.
Other objectives: Improve the quality of tourism services; strengthen management of industry standards in the tourism sector, particularly related to promoting the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE).
The ministry’s industry department director, Kim Sereiroath, added that the ministry would cooperate with the private sector during the campaign to eliminate non-licensed businesses by 2018.
This will strengthen revenue from tourism licences and ensure the ministry can offer “one service, one standard”, he added.
There are plans to issue individual QR codes to tourist guides to better assess and guarantee the quality of services and improve the management of government funding for the industry.
Although international tourism arrivals increased by 5.0% to surpass the 5 million mark in 2016, overall tourism revenue declined from the USD3.5 billion in 2015, to USD3 billion, or 13% of GDP in 2016.
By the end of 2016, there were 647 hotels, 1,996 guesthouses, 1,844 restaurants, 588 tourist agencies and 5,088 guides registered nationwide.