International arrivals to Cambodia should pass in 2018 the six-million mark, driven by the irresistible growth of the Chinese market. By 2025, the Kingdom should receive 10 million international visitors, highlighted Hul Seila, Deputy Director Marketing at the Ministry of Tourism during the traditional press briefing hosted at the Cambodia Travel Mart in Phnom Penh.
Cambodia is turning into a maturing tourism destination with an increasing diversity of tourism products and destinations. The creation of the Cambodia Travel Mart in 2017 with the support of the Royal Government -and particularly Cambodia Ministry of Tourism- as well the involvement of the private sector is a strong signal of confidence toward tourism.
During the opening ceremony of the second edition of the CTM in Phnom Penh, Deputy Prime Minister stressed how important tourism is for the Kingdom. “it is considered one of the four pillars to the economic development of the country,” highlighted Chea Sophara, DPM and Minister of Land Management, Urban Planning and Construction. “Tourism to Cambodia experienced an 11.8% growth between 2016 and 2017, representing 5.6 million international visitors while revenues grew by 12.3% to US$3.6 billion. Tourism represents now 12.3% of our total GDP,” he described.
” Tourism has enabled Cambodia to achieve an equal footing with other countries in the region on the international stage by winning many world-class awards”, added the Deputy Prime Minister.
CTM reflects this confidence in tourism: the travel show, the only international travel fair in Cambodia has seen an increase in size: “We have this year 170 booths compared to 110 last year in Siem Reap while the total number of buyers is reaching 130 people as well as 22 media,” indicated Chhoda Kevin Rangsey, Managing Director of SlickBooth, the organizer company of the CTM.
For the Ministry of tourism, the CTM represents an opportunity to showcase Cambodia and particularly to increase the quality of travellers to the country. “Our ambition is to turn Cambodia into a stand-alone destination which would help rising the total number of nights and consequently spending by each traveller,” described Hul Seila.
“Infrastructure is of crucial importance to give an easier access to travellers. We have seen in the last few years tremendous progress from airlines to better connect our airports to the rest of the world. The construction of an international ferry port in Kampot along the coast will further enhance the appeal of our coastal area. Trains are now running from Thailand to Cambodia. While this mode of transportation is still in its infancy, we believe that trains will become an important mean of transportation for foreign visitors over the next years to come,” added the Deputy Director Marketing.
Cambodian authorities remain upbeat over the future of tourism. The development of Chinese tourism, which represents now a third of all arrivals to Cambodia, the further improvement of infrastructure and the development of international hotel chains will all have a positive effect on the evolution of tourism. ” We already predict 15 million international visitors by the year 2030,” concluded Hul Seila.