Up to 11,000 Cambodians have travelled to Guangxi Autonomous Region so far this year for both tourism and commerce purposes as a result of extensive promotion of the southern province in Cambodia and increased air connectivity.
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Establishing a daily flight from Phnom Penh to Guangxi, as well as increasing the number of flights from Siem Reap, would not only boost the number of Chinese visitors to Cambodia, but would also result in more Cambodians visiting China.
Guangxi tourism officials said the autonomous region is more than just minorities and karst hills, as there are also white-headed langurs, cliff paintings, dragon terraces, and wind and rain bridges.
“As new modes of travel gain popularity, a boost is expected for tourism activity between Guangxi and destinations in Asean. As a result almost five million Vietnamese cross into the province daily, both for tourism and for border trade.”
According to Guangxi’s Tourism Development Committee, the cruise line from Fangchenggang will be expanded to Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and other Asean countries as soon as the section located in Vietnam matures.
Cruise tourism is also expected to gain momentum as a new, upscale way of travelling for Guangxi holidaymakers exploring Asean destinations. Cruise lines from the coastal city of Beihai to Vietnam and Malaysia are also expected to be operational soon, said the officials.
The officials said the more than 1,000 kilometres of border Guangxi shares with Vietnam is in itself a rich source of tourism.
In 2015 alone more than a million tourists passed through Vietnam’s Dong Dang to reach Guangxi’s Pingxiang city through the Friendship Pass, which is a major tourist and cargo route between the countries.
Guangxi’s tourism sector is experiencing continuous expansion. The region has joined international culture festivals and international travel fairs as part of its tourism promotion strategy, and hosts the China Asean Expo (CAEXPO) every year, an event that has helped drive up tourism numbers in the region.
The average Cambodian traveller to Guangxi spends three days in the region and at least 1,600 Chinese yuan ($230), officials said.
The challenge is to increase the length of their stay, wow them with more attractions, and increase the money they spend in the region so that it is line with the levels of expenditure shown by tourists from bigger Asean nations like Thailand and Vietnam.