Tourism officials have revised upwards their forecast for foreign tourist arrivals from 7 to 7.5 million per year by 2020.
The estimate was released yesterday during a presentation to the delegates of UNESCO at the Ministry of Tourism by Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon.
Khon told the Post the ministry arrived at the new figures in April, when foreign tourists had already reached 1.5 million for this year.
“Before we thought we would receive only 3.8 million this year, but now we expect 4.2 million for this year,” he said.
According to Khon, the government had implemented strategies to make visitors stay longer. He cited an example of changes to a weekly ticket to visit the Angkor complex, whereby visitors were no longer restricted to fixed dates but could return to the complex with the ticket throughout their entire stay in Cambodia.
Khon said that upheaval in the Middle East region also meant that tourists were turning to Asia as a holiday destination.
“We are trying to ensure that visitors who visit Asia do not miss Cambodia,” he said.
Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said he agreed on figures raised by the minister but noted that Cambodia needed to do more to enhance tourism infrastructure, including safe transportation and accommodation at tourism destinations.
“Local investors need to participate more to enhance tourism and take opportunities to invest in this sector,” he said.
The number of international tourists in Cambodia increased 24.4 per cent from 2.88 million in 2011 to 3.58 million in 2012, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.