Booming Chinese tourists to Cambodia
Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism says the country could attract 1.3 million Chinese visitors a year by 2018.
According to a local media report, the ministry’s marketing and promotion department director, So Visothy, said China is the third largest supply market for Cambodia’s tourism after Vietnam and South Korea.
The country welcomed 333,890 Chinese visitors in 2012, up 35% year-on-year. For January to April this year, 174,150 Chinese have visited the country increasing 55% over the same period last year.
“Chinese visits will continue to grow …it is practical for us to believe we can welcome 600,000 Chinese tourists in 2015 and 1.3 million in 2018.”
The key factor driving tourism are the direct flights between the two countries and this is expected to continue as more Chinese airlines see the value of operating direct services from major cities in China.
There is now considerable pressure to make life easier for Chinese tourists by printing arrival and departure cards in Chinese, while adding Mandarin to the announcements at airports that are only in English and Cambodian at present.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said that it was important to encourage owners of hotels, restaurants and tourism resorts to use three languages–Khmer, English and Chinese–on billboards, promotional leaflets and brochures.There is even a plan to add Chinese to street signs starting with China town in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. But more will need to be done to train guides and to offer language classes for staff in shops, hotels, restaurants and massage parlors.
“Chinese are very rich, there is a big middle class and it should be easy for us to attract more Chinese,” he said: “I think maybe by 2015 Chinese will be the country’s number two source of visitors after Vietnam.”
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