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China invests the lion’s share in $4.3 billion tourist sector

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
Tourists are a major element of income. Ministry of Tourism

Investment in Cambodia’s tourism-related sector was valued at $4.3 billion in the first eight months of 2019, with China as the major financial player, according to latest figures released from the Ministry of Tourism.

Director of the ministry’s Tourism Investment Department, Yin Nat, making the announcement on Jan 27, said that there are several other investors, including Cambodia.

With 14 new projects approved between January and September last year, the money will be used for the construction of buildings including 3- and 5-star hotels, supermarkets and entertainment venues.

A total of 1,000 new rooms will be created to accommodate tourists.

Yin Nat also stated that most of the investment will be concentrated in the country’s coastal areas, influenced by the increase of visitors to these parts of the country in 2018.

Preah Sihanouk province was particularly popular with tourists.

“Although the investment will be nationwide, the coastal areas will be where most of the new projects are going ahead,” he clarified.

Significantly, while a similar number of projects were approved in 2018, the investment required for  the approved 2019 portfolio is far higher, Yin also explained.

Clais Chenda, president of the Hotel Association of Cambodia, welcomed the news and hopes that it will encourage healthy competition within the sector.

“It’s good that the demand for new hotels and restaurant is there,” she said. “But it also means that every business within the tourism sector will need to have [strong] strategic marketing to compete in the market.”

In other figures released from the ministry, there are currently 262 Chinese-owned tourism-related businesses in Cambodia. These include restaurants, hotels and tour agents.

Last year, tourist arrivals in the country numbered 6.7 million, representing an 8 percent year-on-year rise.

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