Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Chinese bringing positive impacts too

Chinese bringing positive impacts too

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
President of CSL Travel & Tours Chhay Siv Lin, who is also Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president, discusses recent developments in the Kingdom’s tourism industry, one dominated by Chinese arrivals. Hong Menea

Chinese bringing positive impacts too

Tourism is one of the main sectors contributing to Cambodia’s economic growth. With international arrivals increasing each year, boosted by Chinese visitors, insiders say their arrival has a positive and negative impact on local tourism-related businesses.

The Post’s Hin Pisei talked to the president of CSL Travel & Tours Chhay Siv Lin, who is also Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president, to discuss recent developments in the Kingdom’s tourism industry, dominated by Chinese arrivals.

What do you think of the current situation in the tourism sector?

Since I’ve been working in tourism for almost 20 years and with nearly two decades of experience, I can say that tourism in Cambodia has grown remarkably fast. This is because the government has good policies, while state and private sectors cooperate well too.

Cambodia also has a lot of tourism sites and resorts such as temples, beautiful beaches, and the largest freshwater lake (Tonle Sap Lake) in Southeast Asia, eco-tourism sites, and good traditional customs that are well maintained.

How has the sector progressed in the last few years?

In the last two or three years, the majority of foreign tourists who travel to Cambodia are Chinese followed by Vietnamese, Lao, Korean, and Thai. Asian tourists normally stay for five days in Cambodia and on average and spend about $550 to $600.

Chinese tourists prefer to travel to Cambodia because the two countries have good bilateral relations. More importantly, we are connected by direct flights.

Currently, Preah Sihanouk province is one of the most popular places for Chinese guests, besides Kampot, Siem Reap, and Battambang provinces.

How does Cambodia benefit from the huge influx of Chinese tourists?

For one, they provide two major opportunities for Cambodia – new jobs and income for the national economy. Unlike Europeans, Chinese tourists prefer to gather wherever they go and open their services (not using local services), like restaurants and hotels.

The launch and use of Chinese services have caused positive and negative impacts for Cambodia. The positive impact is seen through job opportunities, services for tourists that make them feel at home or in their hometown.

The negative results can be seen through the high prices of real estate that make it unaffordable for Cambodians to buy or rent properties. Tourist generated profits are also returned to the Chinese who invest in those services.

What should Cambodia do more to enhance its attractiveness?

To be a more attractive tourist destination, Cambodia should invest more in human resources, build better infrastructure, boost domestic products to meet quantity and quality demands, preserve and conserve old buildings, and take better waste management measures.

Are accommodation and restaurants currently responsive to the rising number of tourists?

In Phnom Penh and other major provinces, we now see that accommodation and restaurants can respond to the increasing tourist numbers, but this is not yet the case in many other provinces.

Do you think Cambodia would achieve its forecast of foreign visitors?

I think if we are well organised, Cambodia will be able to achieve the forecast of 10 million visitors by 2025 and 14 million by 2030.

The Ministry of Tourism and the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents are actively engaged in organising events to promote tourist destinations in the Kingdom and preparing visits for overseas companies so they can get to know Cambodia better.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

MOST VIEWED

  • Draft law on state of emergency pending finalisation

    Prime Minister Hun Sen will lead a top-level meeting on Tuesdays to review the draft law on imposing a state of emergency. Meantime, he has decided to close all casinos in Cambodia effective April 1. In the press conference after the National Assembly met today, Hun

  • State of emergency on table amid pandemic

    Prime Minister Hun Sen, his deputy prime ministers and legal team will meet on Tuesday to review the draft law on declaring a state of emergency, as Covid-19 cases rose to 107 in the Kingdom on Monday. Speaking at a press conference after a parliament meeting

  • Stranded passengers petition UK for help

    Some 10,521 people have signed an online petition calling on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and relevant officials to fly nearly 200 passengers out of Cambodia. The petition is targeted at 15,000 people. Most of the passengers are British nationals, who are stranded in Cambodia after airlines cancelled

  • No word on state of emergency

    The National Assembly (NA) said it will postpone all unnecessary meetings in line with guidance from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) amid the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it did not say when or how it will debate the “state of emergency”

  • Many in limbo as tension heightens

    As the Kingdom restricts travel and prepares for a state of emergency, some foreigners in Cambodia are scrambling for a way home. Foreign embassies in Phnom Penh are making efforts to get their citizens out, but cancelled flights have become common due to the coronavirus

  • Covid-19 Pandemic: Force majeure and legal consequences

    Is the Covid-19 pandemic considered an event of force majeure? The World Health Organisation declared the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak a pandemic on March 11. Following this declaration, the Ministry of Health and other ministries have taken various legal and administrative measures to prevent the rapid