Cambodia welcomed 506,762 international arrivals in the first half (H1) of 2022, which represents a 394.1 per cent year-on-year surge, according to a local report, which is more than half-way past the full-year target of one million.

Broken down by method of entry, 240,637 visitors arrived by air, 261,515 by land and 4,610 by waterways, Fresh News reported, citing Minister of Tourism Thong Khon. The ministry reported on July 12 that these figures represented year-on-year increases of 420.3 per cent, 364.4 per cent and 230.4 per cent, respectively.

However, Fresh News noted that air and land arrivals over the January-June period were down 89.8 per cent and 70.8 per cent from the same time in 2019, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The July 12 ministry report – released in conjunction with a key meeting on the Covid-19 tourism recovery plan held earlier in the day – listed Vietnam, Thailand, China, the US, Indonesia, France, South Korea, Malaysia, the UK, Australia, Singapore and India as major sources of tourists.

It also revealed that holidaymakers made 6.33 million domestic trips in the first half, up by 219.3 per cent on a yearly basis, while foreign residents accounted for 0.68 million, which marked a 380.3 per cent year-on-year rise.

Speaking in the report, Khon recapped that Cambodia has been successful in managing Covid-19, underpinned by nationwide vaccination campaigns tailored towards herd immunity, and that the government has progressively dialled back pandemic-era entry restrictions, all of which has helped revive the tourism and aviation sectors.

The minister also mentioned the latest move to remove quarantine restrictions for international visitors who have not received a primary course of Covid-19 vaccines, if the required rapid test administered upon entry comes back negative.

“Given the current uptrend in regional and global tourism, and with the proactive intervention of the Royal Government of Cambodia, international arrivals are expected to reach about one million in 2022 and two million in 2023,” he said.

Tourism ministry permanent secretary of state Tith Chantha noted that domestic trips in the first half of this year reached about 58 per cent of the 11 million forecast for 2022, adding that an average of 300,000 internal journeys are recorded each week.

He ascribed the progress in tourism recovery to the government’s “proactive and thorough” efforts to fight Covid-19, including the introduction of health, administrative and legal measures that ensure that Cambodian entry-exit conditions are as hassle-free as feasible while remaining as secure as possible for internal and international travellers, particularly in comparison to regional countries.

The number of international arrivals to the Kingdom plunged 84.96 per cent from 1,306,143 in 2020 to just 196,495 in 2021, which marks a nearly 97.03 per cent drop from the all-time peak of 6,610,592 in 2019, ministry statistics show.

Air, land and inland waterway arrivals last year stood at 99,829 (down 86.8 per cent), 96,478 (down 80.6 per cent) and 188 (down 99.6 per cent).

Meanwhile, 4.66 million domestic trips were tallied last year, down by 35.5 per cent, while foreign residents accounted for 0.28 million, down by 84.6 per cent.

Outbound Cambodian tourists dropped by 90.6 per cent year-on-year to 30,517 in 2021, and international tourist departures fell by 86.6 per cent to 183,608.