Cambodia sees Chinese visitors as potential boost to tourism

10:50, January 15, 2011      

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In addition to the significant roles contributed by China to the country's development that is admired by Cambodian leaders, Cambodia is also seeing Chinese visitors as a potential boost to tourism.

Tith Chantha, director general of Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism highlighted China as a future main source of the Kingdom' s visitors.

"I am viewing and hoping that Chinese tourists will visit Cambodia just like the Mekong River that flows from China," he said.

China is now recorded as the third largest source of foreign tourists to Cambodia, according to statistics of the tourims ministry.

The latest figure showed that 177,636 Chinese visited Cambodia in 2010, an increase of 38.55 percent over 2009.

Cambodia has 438 hotels with 25,000 rooms and it is expected to have 40,000 more rooms by 2015 and 70,000 more rooms by 2020.

Tith Chantha said the tourism sector will generate as much as 4 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 10 years.

In many forums, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen has praised China for its major roles in helping his country including hard and soft assistance.

He said that he has gradually built good relationship with China since 1994, from good neighbor cooperation to mutual trust cooperation in 2006 and now it has reached a comprehensive strategic partner of cooperation.

In terms of investment, Hun Sen said China is seen as the largest investors of all in 2010.

And on tourism, he has encouraged local people and services to accept China's Yuan currency in a way to facilitate Chinese visitors to his country.

Hun Sen said his country's tourism has contributed 10 percent to Gross Domestic Product.

He also said tourism is playing an important role in boosting economic growth and the happiness of all people around the globe, and thus his government set tourism as one of the priority sectors for development, saying it is considered as "green gold" which is helping to promote the good living standard of the people, especially, those who are living in the touristic sites.

Cambodia is forecasting that foreign tourists will reach 6 million by year 2020.

In 2010, Cambodia hosted 2,508,289 tourist, an increase of 16 percent compared to 2,161,577 in 2009.

While many countries around the world are working hard to attract foreign tourists, Cambodia will be extremely busy hosting the 30th ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF 2011) this weekend through next week.

More than 2,000 delegates from 10 member states of Association of Southeast Asian Nations are ready to take part in the upcoming ATF 2011 which will be held from Jan. 15 to Jan. 21, 2011 at the newly built Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center in Phnom Penh, the capital city of Cambodia.

During the ATF 2011, there will be travel exchange (TRAVEX) which will give the venue for the ASEAN's package tour sellers and potential buyers from the region and the world, and friendship golf tournament for ASEAN Tourism Ministers and senior officials, organized and sponsored by international television network.

As planned China will also take part in the forum as a dialogue partner, according to organizers.

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