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Cambodia Ministry of Tourism

Spectacular performance for Cambodia`s tourism

REPORT – ITB 2006, BERLIN: For the last three years, Cambodian tourism has been growing at a rapid rate. After recording for the first time in its history 1 million international visitors in 2004, growth gained…

REPORT – ITB 2006, BERLIN: For the last three years, Cambodian tourism has been growing at a rapid rate. After recording for the first time in its history 1 million international visitors in 2004, growth gained momentum last year with a jump of 27.4% to 1.35 million international visitors. Since 2001, tourism to Cambodia increased by 123%, one of the best results of all countries within Southeast Asia. Projections by the Ministry of tourism point to 1.5 to 1.6 million international visitors this year and the 2 million mark should reached by 2007.

This very positive forecast is based on a number of factors: simplified visa procedures, new international borders check-points, and a liberal open-skies policy due to the absence of a strong national carrier. In 2005, scheduled airlines from South Korea and Taiwan launched flights from Siem Reap-Angkor; low-cost carriers AirAsia and Jetstar Asia launched service from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. An important step this year will be the possible opening of a non-stop connection from Dubai to Phnom Penh by Emirates Airlines. It would be the first long-haul route for the country.

Siem Reap-Angkor is Cambodia’s number one destination with a market share of 55% of all tourist arrivals in 2005. But the growth of tourism to the Angkor region has not been without problems. The huge increase in hotels (135 with 4,327 rooms in 2005) strongly impacts the nature of tourism in the area. Siem Reap, which was once simply a cultural destination, increasingly seems to be turning into an entertainment zone. The government, which earlier encouraged any type of tourism, has now adopted a more careful approach. Its strategy is to diversify tourism flows to Phnom Penh for city tourism and new destinations.

The Ministry of tourism has identified beach tourism on the southern coast (triangle Sihanoukville to Kep-Kong island) as a priority, as well as ecotourism in the northeastern districts of Ratanakiri and Mondulkiri. Sihanoukville’s airport is due open this year to regional flights.

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