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Spending Big on New Year Overseas Travel

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Tourists visit the Angkor Wat temple complex. Miguel Vincente Marinez Juan Miguel Vincente Marinez Juan

With incomes and the middle class growing, Cambodians are spending even more this year on foreign trips for the Khmer New Year holiday, tour operators said yesterday.
Operations Manager at the Phnom Penh-based 2 World Travel Cambodia Veang Chivuth said bookings were up compared with last year.
“Now, we have 38 tour packages during Khmer New Year to ASEAN countries – a remarkable increase compared to previous years,” he said. 
New Year is one of the three main holidays, along with Chinese New Year and the Water Festival and there is an increasing trend of people travelling abroad, he said.
Operations and sales manager Srey Rath at International Travel and Tours Sok Vuthy said most travelers were going to other ASEAN countries.
“Most travelers visit Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam,” Mr. Vuthy said. “And some visit Thailand by choosing a bus tour package because it is cheaper than the flight option.”  
According to both tour operators, customers spend an average $500 to $600 for a five to six day tour package abroad.
Mr. Chivuth said the trend was for more foreign travel as incomes increase. And travel is increasing beyond the nine neighboring ASEAN countries as people increasingly look to Europe, the US and Australia.
The Tourism Ministry said almost 1.2 million people travelled abroad last year, up 25 percent from the previous year.
The Ministry’s director of statistics and information, Kong Sophearak, said foreign travel was increasing.
The process of filling in applications for visiting other countries is getting easier,” he said, “especially as we are part of the ASEAN [Economic Community].” The AEC, came into effect this year with the aim of cutting trade barriers and increasing mobility within the 10 ASEAN members.
Government statistics show per capita income rose to $1,225 last year from $1,130 the year before.
In January, about 100,000 people travelled abroad, up 32 percent from the same month last year. Foreign inbound tourism increased 1.2 percent to 460,000.
Khmer New Year is one of the major holidays as businesses close and people go to their home villages or travel overseas. Ang Kim Eng, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, told Khmer Times recently that record low oil prices were making it cheaper for people to travel, adding local tourism facilities and resorts had also improved.

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