Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ministry says 1M int’l tourists expected in 2022

Ministry says 1M int’l tourists expected in 2022

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Foreign tourists visit Angkor Wat temple in Siem Reap province earlier this year. YOUSOS APDOULRASHIM

Ministry says 1M int’l tourists expected in 2022

Cambodia is expected to welcome one million international tourists and tally eight million domestic trips by end-2022, according to new estimates from the tourism ministry – which have been met with mixed reactions amongst industry experts, who warn that many global factors may cast a cloud on the optimistic projections.

According to a Ministry of Tourism press release on the status of Cambodia’s tourism sector, the tourism situation is continuing to improve and is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in 2023 for domestic trips, with 11 million anticipated, and 2025 for international tourists, with seven million expected by then.

The ministry also announced its tourism figures for the year thus far, noting that in the first four months of 2022, Cambodia received 241,485 international tourists, an increase of 191.5 per cent year-on-year, and logged 5.04 million domestic trips, rising 161.5 per cent from last year’s figures.

Of the international tourists, 131,864 tourists entered the Kingdom by air, marking a 243.9 per cent rise, while 106,614 arrived through overland means, rising by 135.6 per cent. Just 3,007 arrived via waterways.

The ministry said it estimates that tourist numbers will recover “rapidly” from August, and announced that Cambodia’s priority tourism markets were ASEAN, East Asia, the US and the EU.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan said he agreed with the ministry’s forecast, with the caveat being the re-emergence of a deadlier strain of Covid-19 and the expansion of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

He noted that the reopening of neighbouring countries’ borders have meant that the predictions would be achieved without issue.

“I think the [projected] figures would be possible if the situation is as it is today, with the borders of neighbouring countries remaining open. Recently, the influx of Vietnamese and Thai visitors has been large,” he said.

However, Sinan said that outbreaks of Covid-19 locally and globally would be a concern for the industry. Although Cambodia has reported no cases of Covid-19 infection for over 10 days, he noted that in Vietnam, Thailand and parts of Europe there are still outbreaks and deaths from the virus on a daily basis.

Cambodia Hotel Association vice-president Clais Chenda told The Post that the tourism ministry’s forecast was encouraging, but noted that the hotel sector had only met with a “small increase” in occupancy rates since the government reopened the country in November.

She said it has not been possible to attract domestic tourists because Cambodians’ incomes have not been favourable in the past two years, having been reduced or, in some cases, lost completely. As a result, holidays have been curtailed or cut out entirely. Business owners have also been busy rehabilitating their enterprises, and holidays have become only day trips, she said.

Chenda added that hoteliers across the country are continuing to face financial troubles stemming from Covid-19.

“However, I still hope the ministry’s forecast comes true. We are happy that it’s positive, because we have been sinking for more than two years. It’s hard to live. And if you try to borrow money from the bank to restart a business, no bank will accept you,” she said.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin struck a more optimistic note, saying that the ministry’s forecast was achievable according to actual tourist flows in the first four months of 2022, where Cambodia received more than 200,000 international guests after it had just reopened.

She suggested that tourism numbers would increase in due course after accounting for the lead time needed to plan holidays before embarking on them.

“I agree with the ministry’s forecast, because in 2025, there will be more tourists. From looking at some countries in the ASEAN region, trying to reopen and also resume flight operations, I’m confident that in the next three years, it will recover,” she said.


  • Ministry taking steps over Thai ‘replica’ of Angkor Wat

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has dispatched experts to inspect the ongoing construction of a temple in Wat Phu Man Fah, located in Thailand’s Buriram province. This temple appears to be a replica of Cambodia’s renowned Angkor Wat. The ministry said

  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • PM to open new Siem Reap int’l airport December 1

    Prime Minister Hun Manet and Chinese leaders would jointly participate in the official opening of the new Chinese-invested Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport on December 1. The airport symbolises a new page in the history of Cambodian aviation, which will be able to welcome long-distance flights to

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • Minimum wage set at $204, after Sep 28 vote

    The minimum wage for factory workers in the garment, footwear and travel goods industries for 2024 has been decided at $204 per month, with the government contributing $2. Following several negotiation sessions, the tripartite talks reached an agreement during a September 28 vote, with 46 of 51 votes supporting the $202 figure.

  • Cambodia claims int’l titles in eight-sided arena

    Three prominent Cambodian Kun Khmer fighters – Thoeun Theara, Phal Sophorn and Roeung Sophorn – all claimed International Professional Combat Council (IPCC) world titles at the September 30 octagonal ring event at Town Arena, although popular Kun Khmer exponent Prum Samnang failed to secure a win in his