Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chinese arrivals offset decline in Vietnamese tourists

Chinese arrivals offset decline in Vietnamese tourists

Chinese tourists walk out of the Royal Palace after a sightseeing tour in the Kingdom’s capital last year.
Chinese tourists walk out of the Royal Palace after a sightseeing tour in the Kingdom’s capital last year. Pha Lina

Chinese arrivals offset decline in Vietnamese tourists

A sharp rise in visits by Chinese and Lao tourists offset a double-digit decline in Vietnamese arrivals during the first half of the year, pushing the Kingdom’s tourism sector into record territory.

Chhay Khunlong, deputy general director of the Tourism Industry Department at the Ministry of Tourism, said Cambodia received more than 2.6 million foreign tourist arrivals during the first six months of 2017. The total represented a 12.8 percent increase compared to the same period a year earlier, and was the highest volume ever recorded in a six-month period.

China topped all other countries for inbound tourism, with the number of arrivals increasing 40 percent year-on-year to 529,967 visitors during the first half of the year, and accounting for about 20 percent of all international arrivals.

“The government targeted Chinese tourism and is trying to promote more arrivals . . . to reach our target of 2 million Chinese tourists a year by 2020,” Khunlong said yesterday.

The huge gain in Chinese tourists offset the drop in Vietnamese arrivals, which declined by 15 percent year-on-year to 392,388 during the first half of 2017, Khunlong said. Meanwhile, visits by Lao tourists soared over 82 percent to 224,272 during the period.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Travel Agents Association, said the fluctuation in visits by individual nationalities was not an issue given that the overall trend was for more tourists. In any case, she projected that Vietnamese inbound tourism would bounce back next year once the government turns its attention to addressing the issues that caused it to slow.

“The growth of Vietnamese arrivals will increase next year as currently tourism operations are focused on implementing the government’s policy to attract more Chinese tourists,” she said.

She suggested that the slowdown in Vietnamese arrivals could also be the result of authorities taking action against Vietnamese tour buses and guides, which domestic operators have claimed are damaging their business.

“The Vietnamese only use direct buses from their country and their own guides, which keeps local tourism operators from receiving any profits, so authorities have taken action to address this,” she said.

Of the 2.6 million foreign tourist arrivals during the first half of the year, some 60 percent, or 1.6 million, arrived by air, according to ministry data. Around 36 percent entered Cambodia by land crossings, and 89,525 arrived by sea.

Khunlong said 1.4 million foreign tourists visited Phnom Penh, 1.2 million visited Siem Reap, and just over 400,000 visited Sihanoukville.

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the

  • Huge timber haul seized in Kratie raid, suspects sought

    Kratie provincial authorities were searching on Wednesday for the owners of hundreds of cubic metres of first-grade timber found loaded onto seven heavy trucks during a raid on a warehouse in Snuol district. After getting a tip-off, Military Police, police, Forestry Administration and court officials