Cambodia Finally Received its Fifth Million International Tourist in 2016

It just took six years for Cambodia to double the total number of international travellers to the Kingdom. Back to 2010, Cambodia was officially welcoming 2.508 million international tourists who brought to the country US$1.78 billion in revenues. Last year, international tourist arrivals grew by 5% to pass for the first time the five-million mark in 2016, according to a report published by the Ministry of Tourism. However, total tourism revenues were down from a total US$3.5 billion recorded in 2015 to US$3 billion last year. Revenues generate 13% of the Kingdom’s total GDP.

By the end of 2016, there were 647 hotels, 1,996 guesthouses, 1,844 restaurants, 588 tourist agencies and 5,088 guides registered in the Kingdom, according to the Ministry report.

Cambodia wants to continue to improve tourism quality in the country. According to Dr. Thong Khon, the Minister of Tourism, unveiled a new campaign to improve regulation of the industry, consisting of a seven-step plan that starts with enhancing the management of business licences and strengthening revenue collection.

Improving the quality of tourism services was the second step, followed by better management of industry standards in the tourism sector, particularly related to promoting the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) strategy, which involves promoting tourism for large organised groups. Guides will also receive individual qaulity codes to tourist guides to be sure that they provide a high level of services. The target is to get rid of unofficial, unlicensed tourism business by 2018. “All the measures that are set out in the campaign are in response to weaknesses and challenges we have found in the industry,” explained the Minister to local newspapers.

The Ministry of Tourism is now looking at 5.4 to 5.5 million international travellers for this year with an eye on seven million international arrivals by 2020.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom confirmed an increase in entrance fees for most tourist attractions. Since last week, Angkor Archeological Park charge new fees for international travellers of US$37 for a one-day pass instead of US$20; the three-day pass is rising to US$62 from US$40, while travellers will fetch from now US$72 for a week-long pass instead of US$60. Prices increased also for Phnom Penh Royal Palace (US$10 in stead of US$6.25), the National Museum and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (US$5 instead of US$3). A steep increase which unfortunately is not followed by an improvement of the facilities or services offered at the various institutions.