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Visitor numbers to Kingdom collapse

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
Cambodia suffered plunging visitor numbers for the first six months of the year. KT/Khem Sovannara

For the first six months of the year, the number of foreign arrivals to the Kingdom dropped by around 65 percent, compared with the same period last year, according to a report from the Ministry of Tourism.

The report stated that in June alone, the number of foreign arrivals decreased 97.3 percent.

From January to June, Cambodia welcomed about 1.183 million arrivals from abroad, a drop of 64.6 percent, while in June, it was only around 12,284 foreign arrivals, plunging more than 97.3 percent compared with June last year.

A total of 929,929 visitors came for a holiday, 202,785 were travelling for business and there were 50,062 visitors entering the country for other reasons.

The number of visitors from China dropped 78.7 percent (275,673), Vietnam was down 55 percent (161,084), the US fell 60 percent, the Republic of Korea was 62 percent fewer, the UK fell 50 percent, France 51 percent, Japan 60 percent, Lao PDR 83 percent and Germany was down 46 percent.

The Ministry of Tourism is now moving to restore the devastated tourism sector by preparing a so-called travel bubble plan to gradually receive international tourists, even if the Kingdom sees a rise in new cases of COVID-19.

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said the ministry has already drafted guidelines on visits via a travel bubble, also described as a one-way closed-loop chartered plane journey in Cambodia. “The ministry will consult with experts and the Ministry of Health to design a travel policy called a travel bubble to prepare tightly secured international tourist packages from regions or countries without COVID-19,” Khon said.

“If this plan is successful, it will enable Cambodia to build confidence in the recovery of the tourism sector and secure jobs for laid-off workers affected by COVID-19 and ensure economic growth,” he added.

For the reception of international tourists in the form of a travel bubble, Cambodia expects to receive retired and rich visitors, especially those from safe areas. Khon said Asean and Asean-plus-three (China, Japan and South Korea being the additional three) will be the primarily targeted countries. The process must be conducted in gradual stages, with the approval of the Ministry of Health and with the permission of the government.

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