Some 1.8 million tourists arrived in Cambodia in the first five months of this year, a 20 per cent increase compared with the corresponding period in 2012, thanks largely to an regional influx of travellers.
Ho Vandy, co-chair of the government-private sector tourism working group, said that tourism is taking off largely thanks to marketing, an environment of open trade, investment policies and solid diplomatic relations with neighbouring countries.
“It reflects the good cooperation and effort made by government and private sector in promoting Cambodia’s tourism sector,” Vandy said.
He added that the majority of foreign tourists are still from the countries in the region, accounting for about 60 per cent of the total.
According to official statistics, Vietnam led tourist arrivals during the period with about 340,000 visitors. South Korea followed with some 215,000, and China was third at around 132,000.
The Cambodian Development Research Institute says that tourism directly employs around employs 350,000 people. Last year, it brought about $2 billion into Cambodia’s economy.
There are signs that Cambodia’s tourism sector is diversifying to include beach and eco-tourism, and the development of Cambodia’s Islands is seen a new frontier for the industry.
“If the problem in Western economies improve, more and more tourists from there will be increasing as well,” Vandy said.