Minister Thong Khon on Monday urged Japanese businesses to consider investing in the Kingodm’s tourism sector, particularly to attract retirees.
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In a meeting with outgoing Japanese ambassador Hidehisa Horinouchi on Monday, Tourism Minister Thong Khon noted that the number of Japanese tourists visiting Cambodia is increasing rapidly.
He urged Japanese firms to capitalise on that growth, particularly by creating new tourism products.
“I believe Japanese firms could generate great profits by creating new tourism products and developing existing destinations. Particularly, I see great potential in the creation of products that target retirees,” Mr Khon told the Japanese ambassador.
Mr Khon said the Kingdom needs more investment in infrastructure as well as a larger tourism offer to attract more visitors and encourage them to stay longer here.
In the first half of 2019, about 100,000 Japanese tourists visited the Kingdom, up 3 percent from 2018.
Last year six Japanese investment projects were registered with the Ministry of Tourism, totalling $800 million.
Cambodia aims to attract more than 300,000 Japanese tourists a year by 2020. The two countries are connected via an ANA airline flight linking Phnom Penh and Tokyo.
In 2018, 210,471 Japanese holidaymakers visited Cambodia, making Japan the seventh largest tourism market for Cambodia. That same year, about 22,000 Cambodian travelled to Japan.
Trade between Cambodia and Japan exceeded $1 billion in the first half of 2019, growing by 16.8 percent year-on-year, according to the latest report from the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro).
From January to June, Cambodian exports to the East Asian economic giant were valued at $792 million, a 12 percent increase. Imports from Japan, meanwhile, rose by 34 percent to $256 million.
In a meeting with Ambassador Horinouchi yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen expressed satisfaction over the progress achieved in the trade relation.
Mr Hun Sen said the rapid growth in trade between the two nations is founded on strong diplomatic ties.
“Investment and trade, as well as the number of tourists, have increased rapidly as a result of efforts by the Japanese ambassador to Cambodia,” Mr Hun Sen said.
Seang Thay, spokesman at the Ministry of Commerce, told Khmer Times yesterday that trade growth was made possible by the close relationship between the Cambodian and the Japanese governments. The number of Japanese investors considering the Cambodian market is growing due to the Kingdom’s robust economic growth, he added.
“I believe that bilateral trade will continue to increase in years to come because Cambodia has reformed its investment law and its investment environment to attract foreign investors,” Mr Thay said.
Cambodia mostly exported garments and footwear to the Japanese market. It also exported electronic components such as mobile phone batteries, although in significantly smaller amounts.
Japan mostly exported machinery, automobiles, and electronics to the Kingdom, as well as beef, steel, and pharmaceuticals, according to the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce.
Last year, trade with Japan increased by 27.3 percent, reaching more than $1.6 billion, according to Jetro. Cambodia bought about $421 million in Japanese goods, a 17.8 increase.