Cambodia bets on Chinese tourists to get its tourism back on track


Cambodia is hoping that Chinese tourists will drive its tourism growth when the world is cleared of the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s tourism minister Thong Khon has said.

Khon said the COVID-19 pandemic has made a deep impact on the country’s tourism business. However, he was optimistic that Chinese tourists would support the kingdom’s tourism growth when the coronavirus crisis ends.

The minister said mutual help and trust between the two countries in the fight against COVID-19 has deepened bilateral ties.

China has become the largest source of foreign tourists to Cambodia since 2017. Cambodia’s tourism industry, with revenues of $4.92 billion, is currently being hit the hardest by the ravaging pandemic.

Tourism data showed that Cambodia received a total of 223,400 foreign tourists in March, a decrease of 65% over the same month last year.

Air passenger numbers dropped by more than 90% in April, according to the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation, while ticket sales at Cambodia’s world famous Angkor archaeological park fell by 99% in April.

Secretary of state and spokesman of the Tourism Ministry Top Sopheak said, “Before COVID-19, the Angkor archaeological park in Siem Reap province received up to 9,000 foreign tourists a day, but now, it gets only 20 per day and those are foreigners living and working in Cambodia.”

To be ready to receive Chinese tourists during the post-COVID-19 era, Cambodia will continue to promote the “China Ready” strategy and urge tourism businesses and other tourism destinations to further implement health and safety measures for all tourists, he said.

Cambodia has banned entry of foreign visitors from six countries – the United States, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and Iran – since mid-March and has imposed entry restrictions for all foreigners since March 30 to curb COVID-19.