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New report sees strong tourism growth

Tourism arrivals are up steeply year on year, according to CBRE Cambodia’s latest MarketView report.
Tourism arrivals are up steeply year on year, according to CBRE Cambodia’s latest MarketView report. VALINDA AIM

New report sees strong tourism growth

CBRE Cambodia’s latest MarketView report sees strong growth in Cambodia’s international tourism sector, with particularly strong in international arrivals resulting in growth in hotel occupancy rates and durations of stay.

According to the May report, international arrivals in 2013 increased 17.5 per cent, to a total of 4,210,165, up from 3,584,037 in 2012.

“The average length of stay also increased to 6.75 days, up from 6.5,” the report says, adding that “average hotel occupancy rates in 2013 rose to 69.53 per cent, up from 68.49 per cent the previous year.”

Chris Hobden, surveyor for CBRE Cambodia, says: “We expect this trend to continue, in part driven by relative political stability,the variety and quality of accommodation on offer in addition to significant planned improvements to national infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, however, Phnom Penh continues to lag behind the jewel in Cambodia’s tourism crown, Siem Reap – home to Angkor Wat – in terms of international arrivals.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

“Siem Reap remains the most populardestination for tourists entering Cambodia, with arrivals into SiemReap International Airport accounting for 28.1 per cent of all arrivals, compared to Phnom Penh’s 19.9 per cent.”

Hobden says that CBRE does not anticipate a change in that balance of arrivals, noting that the increasing popularity of Sihanoukville will not necessarily work to Phnom Penh’s advantage, due to direct flights between the Siem Reap and the beach destination.

“Tourism to Sihanoukville is expected to increase over the coming years, with frequent flights available from SiemReap and with the delivery of new luxury hotel accommodation off the Sihanoukville coast,” the report says.

Meanwhile, the report notes that, besides Phnom Penh’s burgeoning boutique hotel sector, some major luxury hotel openings are on the horizon. In Phnom Penh, the report cites the Sohka Hotel and Naga 2.

“Sohka is set to launch approximately 450 rooms onto the market and Naga2 is set to deliver in excess of 1,000, increasing Phnom Penh luxury hotel supply by 70 per cent,” the report says.

In Sihanoukville, the report makes note of Cambodia’s pre-eminent luxury resort development.

“Alila Villas Koh Russey is set to deliver Cambodia’s first internationally branded island resort … in close proximity to Sihanoukville. This will build on the success of Song Saa Private Island, launched in 2012.”

According to Hobden, CBRE is also bullish about tourism in Cambodia due to airport expansion plans in the coming years, which theoretically could double numbers.

“The planned expansion of both Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville international airports will support the growing number of international arrivals, with the capacity of at both airports set to approximately double over the coming years,” the report says.

A doubling of capacity would allow both airports to accommodate up to 5 million travellers respectively per annum.

“We see no reason not to expect further expansion of the sector in the years ahead and predict that tourism will make an increasingly significant contribution to Cambodia’s continued GDP growth,” says Hobden.

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