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Chinese Tourists to Cambodia Jumps 20% in 2016
According to the Tourism Ministry, Cambodia last year recorded around 900,000 Chinese tourist arrivals and the country is on track by 2020 to host about 7 million foreign tourists, with 2 million of them coming from mainland China.
Chinese tourists visit in front of the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh on Oct 3, 2016.
Cambodia last year recorded around 900,000 Chinese tourist arrivals and the country is on track by 2020 to host about 7 million foreign tourists, with 2 million of them coming from mainland China, according to the Tourism Ministry.

“In 2016, 900,000 Chinese tourists visited Cambodia and this was a 20% increase compared with 2015. Last year, we recorded 5 million international tourist arrivals and Chinese nationals were ranked second [after arrivals from Europe and other Western nations],” the Khmer Times on Wednesday quoted Tourism Minister Thong Khon as saying.

Khon predicted a bright outlook for Cambodia’s tourism sector this year.

“Tourism is expected to grow and by 2020 we can expect 7 million tourists, of which 2 million will be from China,” said Khon.

Last June, the ministry established the China Ready Centre (CRC) to cater to roughly 2 million Chinese tourists expected to visit the country per year by 2020, as well as to improve the skills of local tourist operators working with Chinese clients.

“The CRC was set up due to the rapid yearly growth of Chinese tourist arrivals in the country,”  Khon told the Khmer Times.

“This centre will facilitate research on the requirements and demands of Chinese tourists as well as strengthen the Chinese language and cultural skills of Cambodian tourist operators,” he added.

Early last year, the ministry released a white paper titled “China Ready for Cambodia Tourism” outlining a five-year strategy for attracting Chinese tourists to the country.

In October, a tourism development agreement was signed last week between the ninistry and China’s Shanghai Spring International Travel Service Group to boost the influx of Chinese tourists to the country. The signing of the agreement came after the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

“The memorandum of understanding mainly focuses on building cooperation and strategic partnership between the Tourism Ministry and the company to promote more flights from different regions of China directly to Cambodia,” said Khon.

At the signing of the agreement, Khon said his ministry was ready to accredit tour operators with the CRC to cater to Chinese tourists.

According to Khon, tourism operators will be awarded certificates if they pass the assessment and they will also be given stickers bearing the words “China Ready and Accredited.”  The stickers would be valid for a year, he added.

At present, there are 94 direct flights a week between Cambodia and China, with 51 flights to Phnom Penh, 31 flights to Siem Reap and 12 flights to Sihanoukville.

Thoun Sinan, the local branch chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association, told the Khmer Times that the number of direct flights from China was a significant factor in attracting Chinese tourists to the country.

“We see more and more Chinese tourist arrivals at the airports, particularly at Sihanoukville,” he said.

But Sinan said more needed to be done to attract Chinese tourists to the country. “We have too many tourism services and products, but we lack connectivity, infrastructure and services,” he said.

“The thing is we have wonderful temples in Siem Reap and other provinces that are famous not only in the region, but also in the world.

 However, tourists not only come to visit the temples. They want something diversified, such as recreation centers, nightlife, resorts or other things.”
  Source: Bangkok Post

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