China is an important source market for Cambodia’s tourism industry, and changes to China’s Covid-19 strategy could contribute to Cambodia attracting as many as 4 million visitors from overseas in 2023, said a Cambodian official, in comments to China’s Xinhua news agency. That would be a 75.4 percent increase on 2022′s tally, according to data provided by the government official.
“We hope that more Chinese tourists, business people and investors will come to Cambodia, given the close relationship between our two countries and peoples,” Kong Sopheareak, director of the Tourism Statistics Department at the Ministry of Tourism, was cited on Wednesday by the news outlet as saying.
He added that Chinese tourists could account for a quarter of arrivals this year. “We hope that Cambodia will attract at least 1 million Chinese tourists in 2023,” stated the tourism spokesman.
According to the official, the Southeast Asia nation welcomed 2.28 million international visitors in 2022, though only 4.7 percent of them – or 106,875 in total – were Chinese tourists.
Up to December, residents of mainland China had been advised by the authorities there to avoid non-essential outbound travel as part of that nation’s Covid-19 containment strategy, and exit visas for overseas trips had been difficult to obtain, according to commentary from investment analysts covering China’s tourism sector.
In pre-pandemic trading in 2019, Cambodia had 6.6 million international tourists, generating US$4.92 billion in revenue that contributed 12.1 percent to the country’s gross domestic product, according to data cited by Xinhua.
Cambodia has a significant casino industry that has traditionally catered to players from neighbouring nations, including countries where casino gambling is not legal.
China has in recent years been pursuing a campaign against what it terms “cross-border gambling” by mainland China residents.
In November, Cambodia and China announced they had agreed to strengthen cooperation, including efforts to crack down on online gambling, and telecommunications scams.
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