Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tourism surges in Cambodia

Tourism surges in Cambodia

Tourism surges in Cambodia

The number of international tourists in Cambodia increased by 24.4 per cent from 2.88 million in 2011 to 3.58 million in 2012, according to data from the Ministry of Tourism.

The most significant increases came from the Kingdom’s closest neighbours.

Laos nearly doubled in visitor numbers to over 250,000 and Thailand, which had declined year on year in 2011 by 21.7 per cent, increased in 2012 by 72.5 per cent to over 200,000 visitors.

Visitors from Vietnam account for the largest group coming to Cambodia, making up 21 per cent of total visitors in 2012.

Tith Chantha, director general of the Ministry of Tourism, said improved transport and rising incomes across ASEAN are increasing travel options for Cambodia and its neighbours.

“Vietnam is number one, but Laos and Thailand are also now increasing because of ease of travel and low visa [restrictions], so neighbouring countries can come any time,” he said.

“Cambodians also go to those countries. Many tourists go to Thailand and to Laos. This intra-regional travel is [happening] more and more.”

This represents a trend across ASEAN, with an increase of 37.5 per cent from 2011 to 2012 of over 1.51 million tourists.

Sinan Thourn, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said improved political relations and lighter travel restrictions inter-regionally have had a large impact.

“In the past before 2008, arrivals from Thailand were quite good, but then we had the problems along the borders and it decreased. But after the Pheu Thai win in the general election in Thailand, you have seen the numbers increasing,” he said.

“Due to the policies opening up ASEAN countries, all the ASEAN countries [enable] moving in and out more easily. This will be a key in increasing tourism from ASEAN countries,” he added.

Cambodia continues to be very popular with Chinese tourists, with nearly 334,000 visitors arriving in 2012, an increase of 35.1 per cent from the previous year.

While Europe made just up just17.1 per cent of total visitors in 2012, the rate of increase was up slightly from 10.9 per cent in 2011 to 12.6 per cent in 2012.

Chantha said, “Numbers of Europeans have increased, if you take Russia, for example, it increased around 50 per cent. France, Germany and UK have [also] increased, but the share [of European visitors] is down because the share of the Asia-Pacific is up.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel de Carteret at [email protected]

MOST VIEWED

  • Proof giants walked among us humans?

    For years a debate has waged about whether certain bas relief carvings at the 12th-century To Prohm Temple, one of the most popular attractions at the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Siem Reap province, depicted dinosaurs or some rather less exotic and more contemporary animal,

  • New US bill ‘is a violation of Cambodian independence’

    After a US congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation that will enact sanctions on Cambodian officials responsible for “undermining democracy” in the Kingdom, government officials and the ruling Cambodian People’s Party on Sunday said they regarded the potential action as the “violation of independence and sovereignty

  • Long way to go before Cambodia gets a ‘smart city’

    Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang will struggle to attain smart city status without adopting far reaching master plans, according to officials tasked with implementing the program. The brainchild of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the smart city program seeks to link up

  • Japan bank buys major stake in ANZ Royal Bank

    Japan's largest bank acquired more than half of ANZ’s shares in Cambodia on Thursday, according to a statement from Kith Meng’s Royal Group. Japan's JTrust Bank, announced that they had acquired a 55% of stake in ANZ Royal Bank. According to a Royal Group