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Cambodia Witnesses a Remarkable 140% Surge in Foreign Tourist Arrivals in 2023

by Surya Narayan
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In a remarkable turn of events, Cambodia experienced a significant surge in international tourist arrivals in 2023, welcoming approximately 5.43 million foreign visitors. This figure represents a staggering 139.5% increase compared to the 2.27 million tourists received in 2022, as reported by the Ministry of Tourism.

Thailand emerged as the leading contributor to foreign arrivals, with 1.82 million tourists, followed closely by Vietnam with 1.01 million visitors. China, Laos, and the United States also featured prominently in the list of top sources of tourists to the Kingdom, contributing 547,789, 372,285, and 184,780 visitors, respectively.

Of the total foreign tourist arrivals, over 1.86 million arrived through Cambodia’s three international airports, while the remainder entered the country via border gates and waterways, highlighting the diverse modes of entry available to travelers.

Top Sopheak, spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism, attributed this remarkable growth in tourism to Cambodia’s peace, stability, and robust infrastructure connectivity. These factors have played a pivotal role in encouraging and facilitating tourists to choose Cambodia as their preferred destination.

“This growth of foreign tourist arrivals reflects the recovery of the tourism sector in Cambodia, even though it may not yet have reached the level of tourist arrivals seen in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sopheak commented.

He also noted that the increase in direct flights from abroad to Cambodia, the creation of new air routes, and the introduction of a new airport in Siem Reap province have made it more convenient for passengers to travel to the country, contributing to the surge in tourist numbers.

Tourism occupies a significant position among the four pillars supporting Cambodia’s economy, alongside garment, footwear, and travel goods exports, agriculture, and construction and real estate.

According to the Ministry of Tourism’s projections, the number of international visitors to Cambodia is expected to reach 7 million by 2025, surpassing the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level of 6.6 million observed in 2019.

Cambodia’s allure as a tourist destination lies in its world-renowned cultural heritage sites, such as the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap province, the Preah Vihear Temple, Koh Ker Temple in Preah Vihear province, and the Sambor Prei Kuk Archaeological Site in Kampong Thom province. Additionally, the country boasts a pristine 450-kilometer-long coastline that spans four southwestern provinces, including Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kep, and Koh Kong.

In the previous year, Cambodia warmly welcomed 2.28 million foreign tourists, marking a remarkable year-on-year increase of 1,058%. This influx of tourists generated substantial revenue, amounting to $1,415 million.

Sopheak also revealed that domestic tourism thrived, with the Ministry of Tourism recording over 18 million domestic tourists in the same year, a significant increase from the 13.9 million recorded in 2022.

As Cambodia continues to attract a growing number of international and domestic visitors, it solidifies its position as a vibrant and sought-after tourist destination in Southeast Asia.

Source: Khmer Times

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