US investors are eyeing opportunities in Cambodia’s tourism sector, while the number of US visitors in the country remained low and is declining, said the Ministry of Tourism.
Data from the Ministry of Tourism said US visitors who travelled to the Kingdom accounted for only 3.7 per cent of the total number of foreign tourists in the first nine months of the year.
The US’ interest was expressed on Monday during the meeting between investors from that country and the ministry’s senior officials.
The US delegation was led by Honorary Consul of Cambodia to California, US, Hout Kim Chha and LA Port representative Norman Arikawa in a bid to boost US-Cambodia tourism and trade investments.
Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak said that US investors had expressed interest in the tourism sector in Cambodia, including investment in infrastructure, hotels, setting up direct flights, and training human resources.
“I think that coming to explore investment opportunities is a good sign which is in line with the government’s policy of opening to local and international investors to contribute to the development of tourism,” he said.
“This is a great opportunity for Cambodia to showcase its potential tourism destinations, which is attractive to foreign investors,” he said.
In the first nine months of this year, some 177,691 US tourists came to Cambodia, down two per cent from the same period last year, Ministry of Tourism data said.
Last year, Cambodia received about 250,000 US tourists. The US is ranked at sixth place among international tourists, said the ministry’s report.
Its under-secretary of state So Visothy said: “We have progressed in the tourism sector and the government’s vision to transform Cambodia into an attractive international destination.”
Cambodia has a long-term vision of achieving seven million foreign tourists by 2020 and 15 million by 2030, he said.
“In order to achieve this growth, the Kingdom needs to develop infrastructure, new tourism products and strengthen its human resources, especially to create more direct flights.”
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin is optimistic that US businessmen will invest in the Kingdom’s tourism sector, given the country’s political and economic stability.
“This shows that they notice the potential of our tourism sector, and our progressive development and political stability. This will boost tourism growth as well,” she said.
The ministry’s report said in the first nine months of the year, Cambodia received 4.81 million foreign tourists, an increase of 10 per cent over the same period last year.
Chinese tourists topped the list of foreign visitors in recent years.