Cambodia receives 2.54 mln foreign tourists in 7 months

Phnom Penh – Cambodia has attracted some 2. 54 million international visitors in the first seven months of 2014, up 4.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

Kong Sopheareak, chief of the Tourism Ministry’s Statistics and Planning Department, said Vietnam, China, and South Korea are the largest sources of tourists to the country.

The report said during the January-July period this year, Cambodia drew about 493,000 Vietnamese, down 3 percent compared to the same period last year, some 318,250 Chinese, up 19 percent, and roughly 267,900 South Koreans, down 0.1 percent.

“We see a steady increase in Chinese tourists to Cambodia from year to year thanks to more direct flight connection between the two countries and Cambodia’s attractive tourism sites,” he said. ” In addition, excellent ties between the Cambodian and Chinese government have encouraged more Chinese tourists and businessmen to Cambodia.”

Sopheareak predicted that Cambodia could greet around 500,000 Chinese visitors this year and up to 1.5 million by 2020.

The Southeast Asian nation is famous for two cultural sites in the UNESCO’s World Heritage List. One is the 12th century Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap province and the other is the 11th century Preah Vihear Temple in Preah Vihear province.

Tourism is one of the four pillars supporting Cambodia’s economy. Last year, the country received 4.2 million foreign tourists, earning 2.5 billion U.S. dollars, which accounted for 16 percent of the GDP. Source: Xinhua – Photo: AT/hz