A long column of more than 20 Chinese campervans swung through Laos and Cambodia this week seeking to promote the Kingdom’s tourism industry to visitors from China in line with the “Cambodia, Kingdom of Wonder” campaign.
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According to a post on the official Facebook page of the Ministry of Tourism, the Chinese caravan started from Kunming in Yunnan province on Nov 15 in an elaborate ceremony attended by top tourism officials from Cambodia and China.
Present at the launch of the caravan were Hor Sarun, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, and Hul Seila, deputy director of the ministry’s Marketing and Promotion Department, as well as top officials from the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The caravan then headed to nearby Laos, before entering northeast Cambodia through the border gate in Steung Treng province.
From Steung Treng, the caravan headed down towards the other provinces of Cambodia, with stops in Siem Reap, Preah Vihear, Kampong Thom, Kandal and Phnom Penh, before heading back to China.
The entire trip covered 5,720 kilometres and took 27 days to complete.
Mr Sarun said the caravan is an effective way of bringing in more tourists from China.
China is already the number one source of foreign visitors to Cambodia. In the first eight months of the year, according to data from the ministry, more than 1.7 million Chinese visited the Kingdom, accounting for close to 40 percent of all foreign arrivals for that period.
Last year, more than two million Chinese tourists visited Cambodia.
The tour was organised to promote cultural and tourism exchanges within the Lancang-Mekong cooperation framework and also as part of the 2019 China-Cambodia Culture and Tourism Year.
The decision to hold it followed a meeting in Beijing between Cambodia Tourism Minister Thong Khon and his counterpart from China, Luo Shugang, six months ago.
The caravan is viewed by the Chinese side as an innovative way of strengthening tourism and cultural exchanges between them and their neighbours in Laos and Cambodia
The caravan was welcomed by officials of the Ministry of Tourism, the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents (CATA), and other relevant agencies. Many of these officials later accompanied the convoy as it swung through Cambodia.