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Tourists up 54 percent in Chinese New Year

Sum Manet / Khmer Times Share:
Chinese New Year celebrations in Phnom Penh. AFP

The number of tourists, local and international, traveling in Cambodia during the three-day Chinese New Year holiday increased by 54.5 percent in 2018, reaching 864,770, according to a report released yesterday by the Ministry of Tourism.

744,140 locals travelled within the country for the holiday, up 47.3 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, international arrivals rose to 105,370, a sharp increase of 93.5 percent.

Thong Khon, the Minister of Tourism, said provinces that share a border with Vietnam, like Prey Veng and Svay Rieng, attracted many more Vietnamese tourists than in previous years.

Likewise, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey, and Pailin – in the border with Thailand – exceeded expectations in terms of Thai visitors.

“This shows that neighboring countries are also happy to visit Cambodia,” Mr Khon said.

“People are very happy because the country is peaceful and prosperous. Because of this prosperity, Cambodians are travelling beyond our borders for Chinese New Year in growing numbers, mostly to Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and China.”

Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Cambodian chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said that occupancy levels in hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap, Sihanoukville and Kampot were extremely high, with many establishments being completely booked out.

“Local people are not only travelling within the country. Increasingly, they are going abroad,” Mr Sinan said.

“With better infrastructure and more flight connections with other countries, travelling to Cambodia is becoming easier every year.

“The growing number of tourists is a blessing for the nation, helping many earn a living and reducing poverty levels.”

Cambodia’s tourism sector earned $3.63 billion in revenue last year, an increase of 13.3 percent, according to the ministry.

Last year, international travellers visiting the kingdom spent 5.6 million, 11.8 percent more than in 2016.

China tops the list for most travellers by nationality, with 1.2 million Chinese tourists travelling to the kingdom in 2017. It was followed by Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Korea.

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