Some 3.03 million foreign tourists arrived in Cambodia in the first seven months of 2023, an increase of 308.5 per cent compared to 743,459 visitors in the same period last year.

According to the Ministry of Tourism, over half the international visitors are from Thailand and Vietnam.

“Thais and Vietnamese accounted for 51.9 per cent of the total international arrivals. Of that, 1.03 million people were Thai visitors, or 33.8 per cent of the total. The number of Thai visitors rose 331.2 per cent from last year.

“Vietnamese visitors made up 551,156, which is up 190.4 per cent from last year. They represented 18.1 percent of the total,” the ministry said.

The data showed that China came in third with 318,498 visitors, up 669 per cent year-on-year and accounting for 10.5 per cent of the total.

This was followed by Laos (173,886 visitors), the US (110,697) South Korea (101,728), Indonesia (72,904), France (61,344), UK (58,829) and Russia (58,693).

Angkor Tourist Guide Association president Khieu Thy told The Post on August 16 that since the beginning of this year, the number of foreign tourists visiting temples in Siem Reap has increased significantly compared to the same period last year, but remains lower than pre-pandemic days.

Most of the foreign guests are from neighbouring countries or in Asia, he said, adding that tourism is always linked to the economy and politics.

At present, Cambodia has not been able to attract tourists from “far away countries”.

That said, things may change at the end of the year, which is the high season for multi-ethnic tourists to travel.

“For the private sector, getting ready to receive a high number of tourists is not a problem. Additionally, many resorts and restaurants have reopened in recent months,” Khieu said, adding that the situation of the tourism industry would be made clear at the end of the year.

The months between May and September are the low season as not many tourists travel.

On August 14, Hor Sarun, secretary of state for the Ministry of Tourism, said Cambodia was optimistic it would welcome the same number of international tourists as before Covid-19, which was about seven million, by early 2026.

Meanwhile, Angkor Enterprise, the state-run institution that manages tickets sales for international visitors to Angkor Archaeological Park, showed that in the first seven months of this year, 439,365 foreigners bought tickets to visit the park.

The ticket sales amounted to $20.3 million, up 424 per cent from the same period in 2022.

For Cambodia, the year 2019 was its most successful year for tourism as it saw an increase of 6.6 per cent rise in international visitors at 6.6 million from 2018.

Of that, the total number of visitors from the three border countries – Thailand, Vietnam and Laos – stood at 1.6 million, accounting for 24.3 per cent of the total.

In 2022, Cambodia received almost 2.3 million international visitors, an increase of 1,059 per cent compared to 2021.

The total number of visitors from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos to Cambodia in 2022 was 1.4 million, an increase of 1,252.6 per cent compared to 104,246 in 2021, the ministry said.