Tourism Minister Sok Soken has led an entourage of ministry officials and over 10 tourism industry players to promote Cambodia at the 17th International Exhibition (ITE-HCMC 2023) themed “Connection, Growth and Sustainability” in Vietnam.

According to the ministry’s official Facebook page on September 7, 2023, Soken visited exhibition booths, including the Cambodian pavilion, and discussed with tourism business partners on products and tour packages to entice people to visit Cambodia.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) president Chhay Sivlin told The Post on Sept 10 that Soken’s presence at the opening of ITE-HCMC 2023 has positive effects on tourism in Cambodia.

His participation also confirms that although there is a new government, the friendship, solidarity and cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam remain strong, Sivlin said.

“All the exhibition events always get results back, so his participation and presence at the Cambodian pavilion encouraged participants to be more aware of Cambodia’s tourism potential.

“Vietnam is an important [source] market for Cambodian tourism, with many Vietnamese now visiting Cambodia by land, waterways and air. In addition, Vietnam is also an important gateway, which brings visitors from other countries, especially Europe, to continue their travel to Cambodia,” she added.

Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia chapter chairman Thourn Sinan said all exhibition events have a positive impact on participants, both as exhibitors and visitors.

Since the tourism sector in Cambodia relies heavily on travellers from neighbouring countries, the event is an important part of promoting tourism in Cambodia.

“The presence of government officers and the private sector, as well as the set-up of the Cambodian pavilion, are to promote Cambodia to the world,” he said.

Data shows that from January to July 2023, Cambodia received 3.04 million foreign visitors, an increase of 308.5 per cent compared to 743,459 in the same period in 2022.

Among them, visitors from Vietnam came in second with 551,156, accounting for 18.1 per cent of the total foreign visitors, which rose 190.4 per cent year-on-year.

Thailand emerged as the top source market at 1.03 million visitors (or 33.8 per cent of the total foreign visitors), up 331.2 per cent.

In 2022, Cambodia received nearly 2.3 million international visitors, an increase of 1,059 per cent compared to 2021, of which 463,995 came from Vietnam, an increase of 1,997.6 per cent compared to 22,120 in 2021, according to the Ministry of Tourism.