Cambodian tourism to see a boost thanks to newly built airport under BRI

2023-11-03 Editor : Zhao Li ECNS App Download

(ECNS) -- Tourism experts in Cambodia are anticipating a boost in the local tourism industry brought by the new Siem Reap Angkor International Airport, which was built with Chinese investment under the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) and started operation on October 16.

At present, a total of ten countries and regions open direct flights to Cambodia, including China, South Korea, etc. Qatar has recently reopened direct flights to Cambodia, adding the total number of international airlines operating flights to the country to 32. 

Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet said on Tuesday that the newly built Siem Reap Angkor International Airport will promote Cambodia’s tourism and socio-economic development, and he welcomed Chinese tourists, stressing that Cambodia is generally peaceful and secure.

In the first 10 months of 2023, Cambodia’s Angkor Archeological Park received more than 600,000 foreign tourists, a year-on-year increase of 2.5 times, with the revenue of $27.88 million, three times that of the same period last year, according to a report released by the site’s protection and management agency.

More than 71 percent of tourism businesses in Cambodia’s Siem Reap province have reopened as tourism gradually recovers. But insiders pointed out that the number of tourists visiting Siem Reap has not yet returned to pre pandemic levels, and the global economic crisis is also affecting the disposable income of potential tourists, dampening the rate of tourist arrivals. 

Some experts believe that as the traditional peak season for tourism, the fourth quarter of this year may bring positive changes to Cambodia's tourism economy. They also hope that the diplomatic visits of Cambodian officials to China will bring international tourists.

Tourism is one of the four pillar industries in Cambodia, and ticket revenue from Angkor monuments is the largest source of its tourism revenue. In 2022, Cambodia attracted 2.2 million international tourists, an increase of 11 percent from 2021, among whom nearly 290,000 bought Angkor Wat tickets, a year-on-year increase of 2,133 percent ; ticket revenue was nearly $11.53 million, up 2,082 percent year-on-year.

To promote the development of the tourism industry, Cambodia has implemented a new policy since September 1 of last year. Foreigners who have been living in Cambodia for more than two years are eligible to visit the Angkor Wat and Koh Ker Temple for free. Cambodian Ministry of Tourism officials said they hope all stakeholders will step up planning and launch new tour packages to attract more domestic and foreign tourists to Siem Reap.

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