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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia gets travel laurel

Tourists leave Angkor Wat temple as the sun sets
Tourists leave Angkor Wat temple as the sun sets in February. Last week the Kingdom received an award for being the best cultural and heritage tourist destination in the world. Vireak Mai

Cambodia gets travel laurel

Cambodian tourism authorities expect the sector, which saw tourist arrivals drop in 2014, to get a boost this year, after the country was accorded an award for being the best cultural and heritage tourist destination at last week’s World Travel Fair in Shanghai.

Tith Chantha, secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, said the award was based on criteria such as clean and green environment, good security for tourists, food and hospitality services among others. The fair had 50 countries participating and showcasing their tourism sites and products in a bid to attract Chinese tourists.

“It is the positive sign for us to prove that we got noticed for our green and good tourism sites. Of course, it benefits our tourism industry a lot as it will promote us and more tourists will come,” he said.

“Chinese tourists have increased around 20 per cent every year, compared to other tourist arrivals. Once, we get this award, for sure, there will be more Chinese tourist [coming to Cambodia],” he added.

Data from the Ministry of Tourism showed that 560,335 Chinese tourists arrived in the country last year, an increase of more than 21 per cent compared with 2013 and second only to Vietnamese travellers.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Agent of Travel Agents, said the award will not only to attract Chinese tourists into the Kingdom but also to promote Cambodia to other potential markets.

He added that spending by Chinese tourist is now more when compared to other foreign tourists to Cambodia.

“Chinese tourists are now spending much more during their trip to our country and they spend a lot on buying souvenirs,” he said.

Marcio Favilla, executive director of the World Tourism Organization, said, at the Global Tourism Economy Forum in Macau last October, that China was a major contributor to growth in the regional tourism industry, with 97.5 million outbound Chinese travelers spending $128 billion on their travels in 2013, the highest in the world.

The award comes on the heels of Siem Reap province, home to the Angkor Wat complex, being ranked No.2 among the world’s top 25 tourist destinations and No 1 in Asia by TripAdvisor, an online travel site.

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