Tourism officials yesterday said they were considering building a “Chinatown” in Phnom Penh in order to target more tourists from the second-biggest economy in the world.
In a Seminar on Cambodia Tourism and Marketing Strategy Targeting China, held at the Phnom Penh Hotel yesterday, Thon Kong, Minister of Tourism, said Cambodia needs to create more modern shopping experiences to cater to Chinese visitors.
“The main problem is, we lack the hotels, good restaurants, transportation services. Most importantly, we did only a little with advertising deep in the Chinese market,” he said, adding that “Chinese tourists prefer shopping more than other tourists”.
“We need to do advertisements in Chinese language, websites in Chinese language.”
The idea for “Chinatown”, in which governments and guide books promote tourism in areas with high concentrations of Chinese, is nothing new outside Cambodia.
“This concept we are studying it and we will propose it to the government, because the idea of Chinatown is so attractive,” he said, offering no other details on timing and location except that it would be in Phnom Penh at a “proper place”.
Bou Chanserey, deputy director of the department of planning and development at the Ministry of Tourism, said 83 million Chinese tourists left home to travel last year, and spending as a result amounted to roughly $12 million.
In the same period, he said, about nine-million Chinese tourists entered ASEAN countries, with the majority traveling to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, while Cambodia received slightly more than 330,000.
Cambodia hopes to nearly double that number by the end of 2015, he said, and reach 1.8 million by 2018.
He said that tourism officials arranged plans to attract Chinese tourists from mainland Chinese cities with crowded populations, such as Beijing and Shanghai.