Cambodian Outbound Tourism Sees Huge Growth

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The number of Cambodians travelling overseas as tourists increased to nearly 700,000 in the first half of the year, up 26% compared to the same period last year, according to the Tourism Ministry.

Experts in the industry welcomed this trend and pointed out that more Cambodians are able to afford overseas travel due to the country’s economic growth.

Outbound Cambodian tourists between January to June reached 699,654, compared to 533,014 in the same period last year, the Khmer Times reported on Monday, citing the June report from the ministry’s department of statistics and information.

Department director Kong Sophearak said the number of Cambodian tourists travelling overseas was high and this was mainly due to the economic growth of the country.

“Though Cambodia is a small country, it is becoming a tourist exporter to neighbouring countries,” Sophearak said.

Ho Vandy, secretary-general of Cambodia’s National Tourism Federation, told theKhmer Times that the average income of Cambodians was increasing and because of that, they could afford to travel to neighbouring countries.

Vandy pointed out that Cambodians travelling overseas, especially to neighbouring countries, also took the opportunity to “explore business opportunities and have medical check-ups.”

“Direct flight connections on budget airlines also help and within the Asean region there are no visa requirements. All these, in turn, make Cambodians want to travel to neighbouring countries,” he added.

Veang Chivuth, operations manager of the Phnom Penh-based 2 World Travel Cambodia, said competition between local tour companies had brought down the price of tour packages.

“This makes it affordable for Cambodian tourists to go to neighbouring countries in group tours,” Chivuth said.

“Most of our customers like to visit Malaysia and China because of the competitive tour packages that are available,” he said, adding that packages could range from $200 to $600.

On July 1, the World Bank revised Cambodia’s gross national income per capita from a low-income country to a lower-middle income status.

According to the World Bank, the country’s income per capita is estimated at $1,070, which puts Cambodia into the bracket of lower-middle income countries.

Sopheareak earler told the Khmer Times that 2.4 million foreign tourists visited Cambodia in the first six months of the year, representing a 2.6% rise from the same period last year.

Sopheareak said the top 10 countries sending tourists to Cambodia were China, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea, Laos, the United States, Japan, France, Britain and Australia.

He added that during the first six months of the year, the number of tourist arrivals from Vietnam fell by 3.6% and those from South Korea and Laos fell respectively by 17% and 23%t. However, Sopheareak said tourist arrivals from China rose by 18% while arrivals from Thailand increased by 23%.

See original article at http://www.bangkokpost.com/most-recent/1062325

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