Cambodia enjoys tourism boom

PHNOM PENH, 27 April 2017: Cambodia’s tourist arrivals improved 12.1% during January to February this year, according to the Statistics and Tourist Information Department.

Released by the Ministry of Tourism, Wednesday, the latest data showed the country welcomed 1,025,522 international travellers compared to 914,554 during the same period last year.

Outbound trips by Cambodians reached 245,016 up 9.2% for the first two months of the year, compared with 224,411 trips during the same period in 2016.

In February, the country recorded 493,316 inbound trips improving 10.0% from 448,468 during the same month last year.

China led the supply markets with 92,031 visits up 13.6% from 81,032 visits during the same month last year.

Other markets in the top five were: Vietnam (78,136; +8.2%); South Korea (43,815; +0.1%); Thailand (35,877; +31.8%); and the United States (24,562; +2.2%).

The data showed 61.1% (301,324) of all international visitors arrived by airlines. Siem Reap Airport received the major market share, 37.3% (184,112), while Phnom Penh Airport secured a market share of 22.4% (110,503) and Sihanoukville Airport just 1.4% (6,709).

Overland travel accounted for 33.4% (164,767) through checkpoints with Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, while sea travel was a small 5.5% (27,225).

In addition, data showed tourist arrivals to Siem Reap province, home of Angkor Wat, accounted for 43.3% (251,900 visits), while Phnom Penh and other destinations enjoyed a market share of 41.5% (241,416 visits). Coastal areas had a market share of 13.8% with 80,589 visits, while ecotourism areas accounted for just 1.4% (8,026 visits).

By region, Asia Pacific accounted for a 71.8% market share and posted a slight increase of 12.4%, or 354,222 visits from 315,228.

Oceania recorded an increase of 9.3% with 13,088 visits followed by Africa (+5.4%; 873), Europe (+5.1%; 97,521), the Middle East (+3.9; 2,211) and Americas (+2.6; 38,489).

Outbound trips by Cambodians in February, this year, reached 121,874 up 5.1% from 115,962 during the same month last year.

To develop the country tourism industry, Ministry of Tourism has prepared a master plan for tourism development across all provinces aiming to attract investment and create more products for tourists.

Tourism Minister, Thong Khon, set out the plan during the first quarter meeting at the ministry earlier this month.

According to the plan, tourism officials at all levels are urged to continue establishing new products and push resorts to keep their surroundings clean. It also focuses on human resources development, introduces information communication technology to manage the tourism industry and builds good hospitality movements.

The master plan for cities and provinces has already been implemented, according to the ministry secretary of state, Tith Chantha.

It includes infrastructure development, clean and green resorts, well managed social order, widening and building new roads to reach resorts, offering good services, quality, hospitality and manpower in the tourism sector.

Cambodia expects to attract around 7 million foreign tourists by 2020 earning an estimated revenue of around USD5 billion and generating some 1 million direct jobs.

The country projects to welcome as many as 5.4 million international tourists this year.

Last year, the country welcomed 5.1 million visits increasing 5% from 4.77 million in 2015. Overall, tourism revenue declined from 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.