Data up to the end of September show an 8 percent slide in visitors to Siem Reap and more than 12 percent slide in travellers to Sihanoukville
FOREIGN visitors to Cambodia’s two key tourist centres fell over the first nine months of the year on an annualised basis, with an increase in arrivals from Vietnam failing to offset a fall from key East Asian markets.
The number of foreigners visiting Siem Reap was down 8 percent over the period compared to a year earlier to just over 700,000, figures from the Siem Reap provincial tourism department show. Visitors to the southern resort town of Sihanoukville fell 12.43 percent to 94,102, according to provincial data.
I hope it will be better again during the last quarter ... it is the holiday period.
Chheuy Chhorn, administrative director of Siem Reap’s tourism department, blamed a combination of bad weather, the global economic crisis and concerns over swine flu for the downturn, but said the province appeared to be turning the corner with arrivals up 2 percent in the third quarter compared to the three months prior.
“I hope it will be better again during the last quarter because it is the holiday period for foreigners,” he said.
A sharp increase in Vietnamese tourists had offset some of the losses from South Korea, Japan and China, he said. Nearly 200,000 Vietnamese visited the home of Angkor Wat over the first nine months of the year, he added.
The data were based on stated destinations at border checkpoints and hotel check-in data, he said, adding that Vietnamese visitors tended to come overland by bus from the Bavet-Moc Bai border crossing in Svay Rieng province.
Seng Mony, administrative director at the Sihanoukville Tourism Department, said the first nine months of the year had been hard for the resort town, but that local visitors had not fallen as sharply as foreign arrivals. Local visitors were down just 2 percent to 311,616, based on hotel booking information.
The slight decline was due largely to bad weather over the past few months, with local arrivals holding firm in the first two quarters of the year. Typhoon Ketsana had dented arrivals this month, he added.
National tourism statistics released this month show the number of foreign visitors to Cambodia was up 1.37 percent to 1.422 million over the first eight months of the year.
However, air arrivals were down 15.21 percent at Siem Reap International Airport as the number of visitors from South Korea, Japan and China plummeted. Land arrivals were up 20.54 percent, boosted by a 43.66 percent increase in visitors from Vietnam.