Cambodia and France anticipate a growth in the number of tourists travelling between the countries after a delegation from French travel agency Atout France visited the Kingdom on Tuesday and Wednesday, Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin told The Post.
Atout France, a government institution which works in partnership with public and private organisations in France to promote the country as a tourism destination, paid its first-ever visit to Cambodia this week.
Sivlin told The Post on Wednesday that Atout France’s visit was very important for tourism development in Cambodia as it presents an opportunity for the Kingdom to be widely promoted as a holiday destination in France.
She added that present in the delegation were representatives from major companies such as Air France, Club Med SAS and CroisiEurope.
“We hope that the number of tourists will increase further. French tourists have long been regarded as a group that likes to travel to Cambodia and spend a lot of money. They are very interested in temples, culture and Cambodian tradition,” Sivlin said.
Cambodians in France
She continued that the number of Cambodians travelling to France for pleasure has increased steadily due to Paris being a city with many sightseeing and shopping destinations.
Cambodia also asked Air France to assess the possibility of reinstating direct flights to the Kingdom, which the company suspended six years ago, according to Sivlin.
1.8 million foreign tourists
According to a Ministry of Tourism report, during the first quarter of this year Cambodia received over 1.8 million foreign tourists, up 9.7 per cent from the same period last year. Of these, French tourists numbered 59,401, up five per cent compared to the same period last year.
Ministry of Tourism spokesman Chuk Chumno echoed Sivlin’s comments that Atout France’s visit will prove beneficial for Cambodia’s tourism sector.
“Atout France will contribute to strengthening the tourism sector in Cambodia. Atout France not only helps promote Cambodia’s tourism sector in France, but it also helps boost the quality of services in Cambodia,” he said.
Despite a decreasing number of French-language guides in Cambodia, Chumno says the ministry continuously trains people as tour guides in foreign languages, so the Kingdom will not face any issues catering to French tourists in the future.
France is the main tourism destination in Europe for Cambodians, with the number of visa applications increasing 25 per cent this year compared to the same period last year, according to a press release from the French Embassy.