Siem Reap is welcoming the first Cambodia Travel Mart from November 17 to 19. The event is considered by all – officials, buyers and sellers- as a success, especially for a first edition. “We had an initial target of 150 sellers for 200 buyers. Our final count shows 80 booths representing 140 companies and some 150 buyers. This is a great success”, highlighted Chhoda ‘Kevin’ Rangsey, Managing Director of Slickbooth, which organized the show in cooperation with TTG Asia.
“Back to 2011, when Cambodia hosted the ATF in Phnom Penh, they were for example only 16 local companies being present. This time, 65 companies were from Cambodia”, added Mr. Rangsey. Among the exhibitors were many local airlines such as Lanmei Air, Bassaka Air or Cambodia Angkor Air but also new hotels such as the Royal Sands in Koh Rong in the south or the future Rosewood Phnom Penh.
The fact that attendance numbers were slightly behind the initial target is also due to the collusion of the event with another important one in Asia: CITM in China, the country’s largest travel show, is taking place in Shanghai from November 17 to 19 and of course attracts a majority of the tourism trade as China is the world’s largest outbound market. “We definitely learn from this first edition. We already agreed to set up the next CTM from October 11 to 13 in Phnom Penh next year”, added Hul Seila, Deputy Director General, Ministry of Tourism Cambodia.
” The Mart shows that Cambodia as a tourism destination is now reaching maturity. This is an important sign to show to the trade. We see a rising interest of tourists from all over the world for our destination. And although the Chinese market is becoming our largest source of inbound,we continue to nurture more traditional markets such as Europe, the USA and Japan as they increasingly look for authenticity and a cultural experience in our country”, explained Hul Seila.
The success of Cambodia is translating in numbers. From just two million international travellers a decade ago (2007), the small Kingdom has seen a dramatic growth in arrivals as it reached last year 5.01 million international travellers. “We expect further growth this year as we saw a jump in arrivals of 12% during the first nine months of this year – driven by a growth of 42% of Chinese travellers. We should finish the year with 5.6 to 5.8 million international visitors and target 7 million arrivals by 2020”, told Hul Seila.