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Tourism numbers up in first quarter

The number of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia reached 1.2 million in the first three months of the year, an 8.2 per cent increase compared with the same period last year, according to figures from the Ministry of Tourism.

Thong Khon, the minister of tourism, told the Post yesterday that the figures are on target to meet the expected target of 4.8 million tourists by the end of this year.

“Nearly 75 per cent of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia come from Asia-Pacific countries and the economy in those countries is doing well, so it encourages people to travel abroad,” he said.

Cambodia earned more than $700 million from tourism revenues in the first quarter of the year, Khon added.

Tourists from Vietnam remain the greatest number of visitors to Cambodia, followed by China, South Korea, Laos and Japan.

The number of tourists arriving from Thailand dropped by 9.2 per cent from the same period last year, a decline that Khon attributed to the neighbouring country’s ongoing political instability.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said the figures were encouraging but that further development in the sector was needed to support continued growth.

“Cambodia needs more quality infrastructure, such as bridge, national road and road leading to the remote tourism destinations, at the same time, staff need to be trained in tourism and hospitality course,” he said.

Local authorities should also take a greater role in the industry, Eang added.

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