Cambodia welcomes 547,798 Chinese tourists last year, up 412.5 pct

Passengers go through security check at the Chinese-invested Siem Reap Angkor International Airport (SAI) in Siem Reap province, Cambodia, Nov. 16, 2023. (Photo by Liao Hongqing/Xinhua)

PHNOM PENH--Cambodia received 547,798 Chinese visitors in 2023, up 412.5 percent from only 106,875 in a year earlier, said a Ministry of Tourism's report released on Friday.

The number accounted for 10 percent of the total international tourist arrivals to the Southeast Asian country last year, the report said.

It added that Cambodia attracted a total of 5.45 million foreign visitors in 2023, an increase of almost 140 percent from the 2.27 million international guests in the year before.

China was the third largest source of foreign tourists to the kingdom after Thailand and Vietnam, the report said, adding that some 1.82 million Thais and nearly 1.02 million Vietnamese traveled to Cambodia last year, up 113 percent and 120 percent, respectively.

Cambodia and China jointly launched the 2024 People-to-People Exchange Year initiative last week, aiming at further deepening cultural exchanges and boosting the tourism sector.

"I'm strongly confident that the 2024 Cambodia-China People-to-People Exchange Year will become a new driving force to attract more Chinese tourists and investors to Cambodia, contributing further to deepening the bonds of friendship between the peoples of the two countries," Cambodian Tourism Minister Sok Soken said at the launching event in Siem Reap province last Saturday.

Cambodian Ministry of Tourism's Secretary of State and Spokesperson Top Sopheak said the kingdom is eager to see more Chinese holidaymakers, saying that their presence has importantly contributed to the country's economic and tourism development as well as poverty reduction.

He believes that the Chinese-invested Siem Reap Angkor International Airport, which officially launched its commercial operations last November, will attract more international travelers, including Chinese ones, to Cambodia.

China was the biggest source of the international tourist arrivals to Cambodia in the pre-COVID-19 pandemic era.

Cambodia recorded up to 2.36 million Chinese tourists in 2019, representing 35.7 percent of the total international tourist arrivals and generating about 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in revenue, according to the Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism.

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