The number of Cambodian outbound tourists has spiked considerably in the first quarter of this year compared with the same period the year before, according to official data.
Figures from the Ministry of Tourism show that 87,450 Cambodians went abroad by the end of March of this year, compared with 72,430 in 2014’s first quarter – an increase of more than 20 per cent.
Lay Heng, the director of tour operator VLK Royal, said that rising incomes have led to more Cambodian customers wanting to enjoy their holidays abroad.
“Now, Cambodian people have changed their mindset. Before they mostly spent time in country,” he said, adding that most outbound tourists went to the regional hotspots of Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam.
“They can enjoy shopping in big malls at affordable prices in Thailand, while others go to Singapore or Vietnam for health care,” he said.
Ho Vandy, co-chair of the Government-Private Sector Tourism Working Group, said economic growth and regional stability meant more Cambodians were packing their bags for trips abroad.
“We have noticed that our people are now booking tour packages to visit abroad a lot,” he said.
The data showed that foreign tourist arrivals to the Kingdom, meanwhile, only increased 3 per cent for this year’s first quarter.
Vandy said the slight increase was expected, given the decrease in tourists going to Thailand.
“It does not surprise us because when Western, and especially Russian, tourists visit Thailand, they come on tour packages which include Cambodia as well.”