Tourism dollars lost on imports

PHNOM PENH, 1 April 2019: Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism will exert pressure on the country’s hospitality industry to use more local products to spread the benefits of tourism to communities.

The government is struggling with the task of balancing the benefits of tourism against the high costs of imports that supply the tourism industry.

In a report published by Khmer Times at the weekend officials estimated Cambodia loses between USD300 to USD400 million in revenue because hospitality firms, mainly hotels and restaurants, are buying imported goods rather than locally sourced items.

Speaking to reporters, on the sidelines of a conference promoting local products at the weekend, Minister of Tourism, Thong Khon, confirmed he established a working group to boost the production of agricultural goods, market garden produce and handicrafts that hospitality companies could buy to reduce the reliance on imports.

“Some imports cannot be replaced, but some can. For instance, Cambodia does not need to import vegetables, fruits, chicken or beef as they can be produced locally,” he told the media.

Estimates suggest the tourism sector earned USD4.3 billion in revenue, last year, an increase of around 20%, but a massive slice of the foreign exchange earnings paid for imports.

Last year, the country welcomed 6.2 million visitors an increase of 10.7% year-on-year increase. This year arrivals should reach 6.7 million and 7 million in 2020.

(Source: Khmer Times).