The arrival of nearly 5.5 million foreign tourists in Cambodia in 2023 bolstered the nation’s tourism sector, generating more than $3 billion in revenue, as reported by the Ministry of Tourism.

The report showed that 5.45 million foreigners visited the country, an appreciable uptick of 139.5% from the previous year. Foreign tourism revenue surged to approximately $3.04 billion, an impressive 115% increase from $1.41 billion in 2022.

At the same time, it indicated that a foreign tourist spends at least seven days in the country on average.

Anheng Sokpheak, president of the Cambodia Chinese Tour Guide Association (CCTGA), told The Post on February 13 that the conclusion of the Covid-19 crisis has led to a marked increase in tourist arrivals in 2023, compared to 2022. He anticipates even higher numbers this year. 

He emphasised the crucial role of foreign tourists in creating jobs and boosting the national economy.

He noted, however, that the influx of Chinese tourists, who previously outnumbered other nationalities, remains modest.

“As tour guides, we are optimistic that Cambodia will welcome increasing numbers of tourists, especially from China. This is particularly likely as the two governments have declared 2024 a year of cultural and people-to-people exchanges,” Sokpheak stated.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), commented that the easing of the Covid-19 crisis has reinvigorated global tourism and investment. 

She also highlighted the government’s efforts, through the ministry and other stakeholders, in implementing measures to attract more foreign guests.

Sivlin added that the government has revised the sub-decree on the “Organisation and Functioning of the Cambodia Tourism Marketing and Promotion Board” to enhance its effectiveness in drawing foreigners.

“When all stakeholders collaborate to promote tourism, offering excellent hospitality, diverse entertainment venues and a range of tourism products, Cambodia stands a great chance of attracting more foreign visitors. This will, in turn, increase international tourism revenues,” she asserted.

On January 13, the government, through the ministry, inaugurated the 2024 Cambodia-China People-to-People Exchange Year, at the Terrace of the Elephants within the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap province. 

At the opening ceremony, tourism minister Sok Soken expressed his firm belief that the initiative would be a driving force for the growth of tourism and foreign investment, especially from China 

According to the ministry, 2019 was a record year for tourism in the Kingdom, with 11.3 million domestic tourists, a 2.3% increase from 2018, and 6.61 million international visitors, a rise of 6.6%.

Revenue from international tourists stood at $4.92 billion, contributing 12.1% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) that year.