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Cambodia’s tourism competitiveness improves

Jose Rodriguez T. Senase / Khmer Times Share:
Tourists visit the world-famous Angkor Archaeological Park, Cambodia’s most important tourist draw. KT/Chor Sokunthea

Cambodia is making inroads in terms of competitiveness into the global tourism stage.

In the latest edition of the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index (TCCI), released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) this month, Cambodia went up three places.

The Kingdom is now ranked 98 in the world. The WEF releases the report every two years.

The report includes 140 countries ranked according to their business environment, safety and security, air transportation infrastructure, natural resources, tourism policies, and price competitiveness, among other factors.

Spain ranked number one globally. France, Germany, Japan, and the United States rounded up the top five.

In Southeast Asia, Singapore is considered to have the most competitive tourism industry, followed by Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Cambodia occupied the last spot in the region, one place behind neighbouring Laos which ranked 97 globally.

Seven of the nine countries from Southeast Asia improved their rankings since the last edition of the report.

According to the 2019 report, Cambodia’s best performance was in the prioritisation of travel and tourism where it ranked 44 globally, followed by price competitiveness (49), international openness (66), natural resources (66), cultural resources and business travel (76), air transport infrastructure (91), tourist service infrastructure (93), and human resources and labour market (95).

The Kingdom performed poorly in ground and port infrastructure (111), business environment (122), and environmental sustainability (139).

The report reflects well on the efforts of various stakeholders to improve the Cambodian tourism industry, which is seen by many as critical to the country’s economic development.

The government has been focusing on tourism growth, and it is set to release a Strategic Plan for Tourism Development.

“Now, Cambodia has become a popular tourist destination for the world and the government sees tourism as green gold,” Prime Minister Hun Sen told the media earlier this year.

There are also efforts to diversify Cambodia’s tourism offer, which for a very long time centred on Angkor Wat. In recent months, there has been a push to build and establish more eco-tourism sites in Pursat, Koh Kong, Kampot, and other provinces to complement Angkor Wat and other existing tourist destinations.

The Kingdom, according to the Ministry of Tourism, is third in Asean for tourism growth. Last year, the Kingdom registered an 11 percent increase in arrivals, figures that were only surpassed by Indonesia and Vietnam.

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