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Asian visitors continue to lead tourism sector growth

Chinese tourists exit the Royal Palace in the Kingdom’s capital in January.
Chinese tourists exit the Royal Palace in the Kingdom’s capital in January. Pha Lina

Asian visitors continue to lead tourism sector growth

Tourist arrivals inched up during the first quarter of the year as Cambodia continued to draw large numbers of Asian travellers, a tourism official said yesterday.

Kong Sopheareak, director of the statistics and information department at the Ministry of Tourism, said over 1.3 million tourists visited the Kingdom during the first quarter of the year, a 2.6 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2015.

He said the top nationalities of visitors were Vietnamese, Chinese and South Korean.

Sopheareak said that the Tourism Ministry was aiming to develop strategies that boost these numbers further, including the introduction of multi-entry visas that encourage return visits.

“The Tourism Ministry plans to provide a three-year multi-entry visa valid for tourists from China, South Korea and Japan, and will submit a request to the government for approval,” he said. “It is a policy that will attract more tourists to Cambodia.”

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said the new visa plan should help compensate for slower growth in tourist arrivals from other countries.

“The increase in tourists from last year is very small and could be a result of situations in other countries, such as war and Europe’s economic crisis,” he said.

“However, the government is trying to promote Cambodia’s tourism sector by extending long-term visas to the top three tourist nationalities in Cambodia, which are Chinese, Korean and Japanese.”

Tourists from Vietnam and other ASEAN countries do not need a visa to enter Cambodia.

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