Cambodia targets Chinese tourism

· Economics, Tourism
Authors
An apsara in one of the Angkorian temples in Siem Reap, the first tourist destination in Cambodia. Photo Al Rodas 2013.

An apsara in one of the Angkorian temples in Siem Reap, the first tourist destination in Cambodia. Photo Al Rodas 2013.

Cambodia is targeting Chinese tourism and it is planning already the construction of a Chinese town in Phnom Penh. Chinese are flooding the planet not only for business or migration, but also they are becoming consecrated travelers. Cambodia sees it as an opportunity to welcome more international visitors not only to its millennial temples, but to all the kingdom. The ministry of tourism reported 333,890 Chinese tourist in Cambodia by 2012, while during 2013 it got 174,150 visitors that represents 55 percent if compared with the same period last year.

The director of the Tourism Ministry´s Marketing and Promotion Department, So Visothy said in a seminar on the topic this week that the project to promote Chinese visitors to Cambodia plans to reach 600,000 Chinese tourists for 2015 and 1.3 million persons by 2018.

The strategy includes more flights between Cambodia and the Chinese airports, more tour guides fluent in Chinese language as well Chinese written signs in the main tourist spots and the construction of the China Town as in other Asian big cities. It will be not difficult in a country with a meaningful Sino-Khmer ethnic minority.

‘Chinese are rich now, more and more Chinese visit abroad. Cambodia and China have had very good diplomatic tie. With this good tie, it will be easy for us to attract more Chinese to Cambodia,’ said Tourism Minister Thong Khon in the same event.

The tourist industry became a main economical field in Cambodia during the reconstruction era, after years of economical crisis and political conflicts that made Cambodia a non-going place. But its economy grew in a positive way during the first decade of the century, while becoming an international destination. Cambodia is also the neighbor of long experienced international tourist havens such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia, a fact that can be used as a way to develop its developing offerings. In 2012 the country welcomed 3 million foreign visitors, 24 percent more than in 2011. Thong Khon claims it represents so far the 12 percent of the Cambodian GDP.

Tourism in Cambodia radiates to four main regions: the millennial temples, most of them in the Siem Reap province; Phnom Penh, the capital; the Cambodian coast over the Gulf of Thailand with the port of Sihanoukville as the main head; and the natural region of Ratanakiri at the north.

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