Asian visitors continue to drive tourism in Cambodia

October 7, 2015 10:27 am 

PHNOM PENH, Oct. 6 — Foreign tourist arrivals to cambodia saw a 5.4 percent increase for the first eight months of the year compared with the same period in 2014 with Vietnamese and Chinese nationals continuing topping the arrivals list, local newspapers reported Tuesday.

The Ministry of Tourism's August tourist arrivals report showed more than 3 million tourists entering the country for the first eight months, compared to the 2.88 million for the same period last year, the Phnom Penh Post reported.

Vietnamese tourists increased 11.5 percent, with Chinese arrivals seeing a bump of more than 26 percent. "The increase of Chinese arrivals to cambodia is due to the rise of investment opportunities in the country," Kong Sopheareak, director of statistics at the Tourism Ministry, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

However, tourist visits from Japan, a country with increasing amounts of investment in Cambodia, slowed by 15 percent due to concerns surrounding the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak, Sopheareak added.

Visitors from neighboring Thailand increased 20 percent to over 187,000 tourists, and Europeans, which contributes a sizeable chunk of tourist arrivals, saw a small dip of 3 percent in tourists entering the kingdom, according to the report.

Ho Vandy, an advisor to Cambodian Chamber of Commerce, said that the good diplomatic relations between Cambodia and china were a factor driving the growth of Chinese tourists. "When diplomatic relations are good, investment in other services also increases, especially in air travel," he said, adding that there are now direct flights from china to both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.

Cambodia generated nearly USD3 billion in revenue from the tourism sector last year and the government expects to attract around 5 million tourists by the end of this year. (PNA/Xinhua)

LAP/BNB/EBP

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