CAMBODIA tourist numbers significantly improved in 2016 with a 4.6 percent spike from January to November.
Data released from the Ministry of Tourism showed that the nation recorded 4,400,178 inbound international tourists compared to 4,200,432 during the same period in 2015.
The data also showed tourist arrivals to Phnom Penh and other destinations accounted for 48.2 percent of arrivals while Siem Reap province, home of the iconic Angkor Wat temple grounds, enjoyed a market share of 41.2 percent.
Expectedly, Chinese tourists alone made up over 900,000 arrivals last year. The Ministry projects the number to rise to two million by 2020.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon told the Khmer Times, “Last year, we recorded five million international tourist arrivals and Chinese nationals were ranked second [after arrivals from Europe and other Western nations].”
Last year, to prepare for the influx of Chinese tourists, the China Ready Centre (CRC) was established. The center trains local tourist operators and agents to deal with Chinese clients.
Khon said, “This center 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.”
According to Bangkok Post, there are presently 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.
Domestic tourism in Cambodia is also on the rise with a five to seven percent growth in 2016 compared to the year before.
The Cambodia Daily reported that Siem Reap was one of the top three destinations for locals, along with Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville.
Meanwhile, outbound trips by Cambodians reached 1,306,393 for the first 11 months of 2016 compared to 1,094,598 trips in 2015.