Chinese tourists lead international visitors

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chinese tourists again topped the list of foreign visitors to Cambodia during the first nine months of this year. Yousos Apdoulrashim

Chinese tourists again topped the list of foreign visitors to Cambodia during the first nine months of this year, with the Ministry of Tourism on Wednesday reporting a 30 per cent increase on the same period last year.

The Kingdom received 4.81 million international tourists in that period, a 10 per cent increase on last year. A total of 1.86 million Chinese accounted for 38.7 per cent of all foreign tourists, according to the ministry’s monthly report.

Vietnamese tourists ranked second, with a total of 63,700 visitors, up 9.1 per cent, while the number of Thai visitors was recorded at 28,100 – an increase of 22.4 per cent.

Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post that the large number of Chinese tourists travelling to Cambodia was a key contributor to the industry’s growth, with tourist-friendly Siem Reap experiencing a slight dip in the number of foreign visitors.

“The growth is consistent with the ministry’s forecast of 6.6 million international tourists this year,” he said, noting that the number of visitors from other Asian countries such as Korea and Laos had fallen in the period.

Around 3.39 million tourists arrived in Cambodia by air, up 14.7 per cent on last year, with two of the Kingdom’s three international airports recording increases in arrivals.

Phnom Penh International Airport received 12.7 per cent more passengers over the period, while Sihanoukville International Airport recorded a 308 per cent increase.

However, arrivals at Siem Reap International Airport dropped by 10.9 per cent when compared to the same period last year.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (Cata) president Chhay Sivlin told The Post that while the growth in the number of Chinese tourists was encouraging, he was concerned by the drop in visitors from other countries.

“The growth in the number of Chinese tourists is positive, but the decline in other foreign tourists such as from Korea and the US is not good news,” she said.

Last year, Cambodia recorded a total of 6.2 million visitors travelling to Cambodia from abroad, up 10.7 per cent from 2017 – with Chinese nationals making up 2.02 million.