Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Siem Reap feels pinch of tourism downturn

Siem Reap feels pinch of tourism downturn

Siem Reap feels pinch of tourism downturn

Foreign tourist arrivals in Siem Reap fell 11.2 per cent during the first nine months of the year compared to the same period one year earlier, as the Kingdom’s top tourist gateway sees its most significant slowdown in visitor arrivals in decades, new government data shows.

Chheuy Chhorn, deputy director of Siem Reap’s tourist department, said just under 1.55 million tourists visited Siem Reap province in the first nine months of the year, compared to 1.74 million during the same period in 2014.

He attributed the decrease to external factors, such as bombings in Bangkok in August and the crash of an AirAsia flight last December, which resulted in cancelled travel plans. Many travelers also nixed vacation plans following the MERS outbreak in South Korea earlier this year.

“Tourists are scared to travel,” Chhorn said, “Our tourism is reliant on neighbouring countries, so any troubles in these countries impacts tourism in Siem Reap.”

He explained that most tourists pass through other Southeast Asian countries, such as Thailand or Vietnam, on their way to Cambodia. In many cases, a visit to Angkor Wat near Siem Reap is tacked on to the travel itineraries of tourists touring other countries in the region.

Siem Reap has achieved an average of 19.2 per cent annual growth in tourist arrivals since 2009, when arrivals grew only 7 per cent due to the global financial crisis.

Last year, more than 2.3 million foreign tourists visited the city, led by Vietnamese, Chinese, Laotian and South Korean nationals.

Khiev Thy, president of the Angkor Tour Guide Association in Siem Reap, said this year’s declining numbers would have a far-reaching impact on the local economy.

“This is the first time that tourist numbers in Siem Reap have gone down,” he said.

“The high season has already started but the number of tourists visiting has not increased.”

He expressed concern about the impact on the city’s tourism-based economy, as well as government revenue.

Tourism directly contributed 13.5 per cent of Cambodia’s GDP in 2014 and supports nearly 1 million jobs, according to the London-based World Travel and Tourism Council.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied