In the first two months of 2024, Cambodia saw a nearly 20% increase in foreign tourist arrivals compared to the same period in 2023, with Thailand, Vietnam, China and Laos contributing to over 60% of the total, as per the Ministry of Tourism.

Between January and February, the Kingdom welcomed 988,574 foreign visitors, an 18% increase from 837,446 in the same period last year. 

Thailand was the leading source, with 247,530 tourists (25% of the total), followed by Vietnam (185,385 or 18.8%), China (109,990 or 11.1%) and Laos (54,546 or 5.5%).

Khieu Thy, president of the Khmer Angkor Tourist Guide Association (KATGA), told The Post on March 24 that there was a significant increase in the number of international tourists visiting Siem Reap province’s temples in early 2024, with a more diverse demographic than during the Covid-19 period when most visitors were from neighbouring countries. 

He observed that the growth in foreign tourist numbers has boosted job creation and income for stakeholders, especially after the sector’s near standstill amid the height of the pandemic from 2020 to 2022. 

He said factors such as the recovery of global economic growth, promotional efforts for the country’s tourism, new road and airport infrastructure and direct flight connections are drawing more foreign guests.

“With these efforts and current developments, I believe the number of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia will further increase,” Thy stated.

He emphasised that the country should focus on creating a better environment, including sanitation, security, new resorts, accommodation services and food, to encourage longer stays by travellers. 

Thy noted that the country is now attracting visitors from distant countries such as the US, India, South Korea, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria.

Anheng Sokpheak, president of the Cambodia Chinese Tour Guide Association (CCTGA), remarked that following the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a steady increase in foreign tourists, significantly contributing to job creation and the national economy. 

However, he pointed out that the number of Chinese tourists, who previously dominated visitor numbers in 2019, just before the pandemic, remains low. 

“As tour operators, we remain optimistic that Cambodia will continue to attract increasing numbers of [guests],” he said.

According to Angkor Enterprise (AE) – a state-run agency tasked with managing ticket sales at the Angkor Archaeological Park and Chong Khneas floating village in Siem Reap province and at the Kor Ker temple complex in neighbouring Preah Vihear province – 235,850 foreign visitors purchased tickets to the Angkor park in the first two months of 2024, a 50.27% increase from the same period in 2023, generating $11.23 million, up by 52.09%.

In 2023, the country welcomed 5.45 million foreign tourists, a 139.5% rise from 2022, with foreign tourist revenue reaching about $3.04 billion, a 115% increase from $1.41 billion in 2022, as reported by the tourism ministry.