Cambodia intends to welcome more than seven million visitors next year

Future vision and work in progress were presented at Cambodia Travel Mart 2019.

In 2018, Cambodia received 6.2 million visitors, and by August this year the country already had 4.36 million visitors. By 2020, the goal is to exceed seven million tourists. This vision for next year was presented at Cambodia Travel Mart 2019, which took place from 11th to 13th October in Phnom Penh.

The event showed the best that Southeast Asia has to offer in terms of tourism. It featured 157 stands, with exhibitors from around 20 countries and territories, over 100 buyers from 34 countries, and 20 international journalists.

“CTM is an important tourism event and a platform where buyers, suppliers and industry professionals can share ideas and the latest news,” said Thong Khon, Cambodia's tourism minister, at the opening of the event. "Tourism has been playing an important and growing role in our country's economy," he said, adding that "the potential of nature and cultural tourism continues to grow."

And figures are quite obvious. In 2018, Cambodia received 6.2 million tourists, a 12% increase over the previous year, with revenues of $ 3.6 million and the creation of 620,000 jobs. Most tourists this year came from China (over two million tourists: 2,024,000), Vietnam (800,000), Laos (426,000), Thailand (382,000), South Korea ( 301 thousand), the United States (250 thousand), Japan (210 thousand), Malaysia (201 thousand), France (170 thousand) and the United Kingdom (163 thousand). The order of countries remains in the top 10 markets for the first eight months of 2019. As of August, Cambodia already had 4.36 million visits. The target for 2020 is to reach more than seven million visitors, including three million Chinese tourists.

An ever-growing destination

Cambodia has been investing in actions to promote the country's various destinations, including ecotourism and gastronomy, investment fundraising programs, human resources management, and creating programs in line with technology and industry trends. It is also working to be a destination for mega events. The calendar of exhibitions and events already features the ASEAN Tourism Forum, the annual event of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which will take place in 2012 in Phnom Penh.

Other measures concern infrastructure development: the highway between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville until 2023; a new National Stadium to be completed in 2022; a new runway at Sihanoukville airport in 2020; a new tourist port in Kampot in 2020; and a new national road. A plan for the new airport in Siem Reap (2020-2025) is also being developed.

The country is also investing in facilities and venues for the MICE sector and Phnom Penh, for example, is already a city to be reckoned. In addition to the Diamond Island Convention & Exhibition Center, Cambodia's capital has several MICE hotels: the Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel, which hosted CTM 2019, the Nagaworld I and II, the Rosewood Phnom Penh, the Palace Gate Hotel & Resort, the Dyvith Hotel, the Sun Moon Urban Hotel, the Olympia City Hotel and the Dara Airport - hotel units that were represented at this year's Cambodia Travel Mart, hotels with areas dedicated to meetings industry, contributing to hosting more meetings and events.

This year new airlines began operating in Cambodia, such as Philippines Airlines or Air China. For its part, Cambodia Angkor Air has announced more flights and frequencies. Cambodia's airline connects domestic airports - Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville - with Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang in Vietnam, and Beijing and Guang Zhou in China. Cambodia Angkor Air's operations have been growing steadily on both domestic and international flights.


Maria João Leite*

* Travelled to Cambodia on invitation of CTM 2019

Tags: Cambodia, Cambodia Travel Mart, MICE