In an effort to promote and attract more foreign tourists both regionally and globally, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia chapter is set to host the first-ever ASEAN Top Table Sales business matching event in Cambodia. 

Scheduled from March 14-16, the function expects the participation of 30 outbound tour companies and thousands of ASEAN tour operators.

Thourn Sinan, chairman of PATA Cambodia, told The Post on February 29 that the mini-business matching event aims to enhance promotion and attract more buyers within the region, with the ultimate goal of drawing more foreign tourists from the region and Europe.

“We have decided to host the event over two days in Siem Reap and two days in Phnom Penh. This allows our local tour operators to engage in business matching and to attract more partners from ASEAN countries. Collaboratively, they can work to attract more tourists,” stated Sinan.

“We have been conducting such events for over a decade. However, with the new platform, we are rotating the event among ASEAN member states. We organise this event monthly in all ASEAN countries to promote and support tourism operators who lack the resources to conduct their own roadshows abroad. Organising tourism business matching in our country is cost-effective, considering the high expenses of participating in events abroad,” he added.

Meth Socheat, owner of Wing Premium Travel and Tours, confirmed his firm’s participation in the upcoming event. 

“It is an opportune moment for our local tour operators to engage directly and showcase our … products, thus attracting more tourists to our country. Additionally, it saves us the considerable expense of participating in overseas events,” he explained.

In 2023, Cambodia welcomed over 5.4 million foreign tourists, in a resurgence that was primarily attributed to visitors from four Asian countries, who collectively represented 68.9% of all foreign visitors, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

Official figures from the ministry indicated that the Kingdom received 5,453,231 foreign guests in 2023, a 139.5% increase from 2,276,626 in 2022. 

Thailand was the leading country of origin, contributing 1,820,460 travellers, or 33.4% of the total, up by 113% over 2022. This was followed by Vietnam with 1,019,812 (18.7%, up 119.8%), China with 547,798 (10%, up 412.6%) and Laos with 372,285 (6.8%, up 302%).

Other significant countries of origin included the US, South Korea, Indonesia, France, the UK and Malaysia, as per the ministry.