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New Visas Aim to Increase Arrivals

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Tourists from China, South Korea and Japan will soon be able to get new visas. KT/Chor Sokunthea

In a bid to increase visitor numbers, the government has agreed to issue three-year multiple-entry visas to Chinese, South Korean and Japanese tourists later this year, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said yesterday.
The new three-year multiple-entry visas for visitors from three of the Kingdom’s top markets for tourists will encourage them to visit Cambodia more often. “We have made this change because the government wants to provide tourists with incentives and make it easier for them to visit,” Mr. Khon said. “It shows that we care for tourists and we hope this encourages them to visit.  
“Chinese, Korean and Japanese nationals can get visas valid for three years and they can stay here for 30 days per visit. But they can come here many different times,” Mr. Khon explained.
Ho Vandy, an advisor to the Chamber of Commerce and president of World Express Tour and Travel, said the move would attract more visitors from the three countries. “It is important because they will spend more time and more money in Cambodia and it makes it easier for them to travel back and forth from Cambodia. It also saves time for tourists and it is an incentive for those who have not visited the Kingdom,” Mr. Vandy said.
He added that this move worked well in Malaysia, saying it had led to a rise in tourist arrivals there.
Mr. Vandy noted that although the move would see the government lose money in visa fees, those working in the tourism sector would see their incomes rise and this would result in greater tax revenues for the government.  
About 4.8 million foreign tourists visited Cambodia last year, an increase from the 4.5 million in 2014, according to official data. There were almost 700,000 Chinese tourists last year, up 24 percent from the year before, while 395,259 South Korean tourists visited, a decrease of nearly 7 percent. The number of Japanese tourists was also down by more than 10 percent to 193,330.
The new marketing strategy, which will start this year, will help Cambodia achieve its goal of drawing 7.5 million foreign tourists a year by 2020, which the ministry forecasts will generate $5 billion in economic activity annually and create about 1 million jobs.

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