The Kingdom has won the Pacific Area Travel Writers Association’s International Travel Award for Best Destination despite the global coronavirus outbreak that has dampen the global tourism industry.
Thourn Sinan, chairman of PATWA’s Cambodia chapter, yesterday said Cambodia won because the Kingdom is known for its rich heritage, public safety and friendliness of its people.
Mr Sinan said the award for Best Destination will help boost the Kingdom’s global popularity.
“It will help market Cambodia,” he said.
Chuk Chumno, spokesman for the Tourism Ministry, told Khmer Times the award was set to be presented in Berlin later month, but the award ceremony was postponed following the global COVID-19 outbreak, adding Cambodia’s award for Best Destination still stands.
Mr Chumno said Cambodia won because of the ancient temples, food and culture.
“This award will help promote Cambodia to the rest of the world,” he said. “We must participate in [maintaining] our heritage so we can win again in the coming years.”
According to the World Health Organization, there have been 118,326 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 4,292 deaths, as of Wednesday.
According to the South China Morning Post, COVID-19 has had a huge impact on tourism in Cambodia. Government figures show that the number of tourists arriving from abroad dropped by more than 60 percent in February.
There have been five cases of COVID-19 in the Kingdom.
Mr Chumno said even though the Kingdom’s tourism sector is affected by the global COVID-19 outbreak, domestic tourists can help off-set some impact and stabilise the sector.
He said the government has acknowledged a drop in foreign tourists coming to the Kingdom amid the outbreak, but the Kingdom will continue to mitigate its impact on tourism.
The Kingdom in 2019 earned approximately $4.91 billion in revenue from 6.61 million foreign visitors, up by 12.4 percent from the previous year, according to a Tourism Ministry report.
The report said the number of domestic tourists visiting culture sites in the Kingdom last year was about 11.3 million, an increase of 2.3 million when compared to the previous year.
It said the Kingdom’s tourism sector contributed 12.1 percent to the Kingdom’s Gross Domestic Product growth and employed up to 630,000 people.
The report noted that last year the Kingdom welcomed 908,803 tourists from Vietnam, 466,493 from Thailand, 363,951 from Laos, 254,874 from South Korea, 248,863 from the United States, 207,636 from Japan, 203,008 from Malaysia, 164,117 from France and 163,177 from the United Kingdom.