Interview: Spike in Chinese tourists drives Cambodia's tourism growth last year – Xinhua | English.news.cn – Xinhua

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CAMBODIA-PHNOM PENH-CHINESE TOURISTS

Chinese tourists walk beside the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan. 29, 2019. , with some 1.9 million Chinese holidaymakers visiting the kingdom, up from 1.2 million one year earlier, Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon said in recent interview with Xinhua. A total of 6.2 million international visitors traveled to the Southeast Asian country in 2018, up 11 percent from 5.6 million in the year before, he said. (Xinhua/Phearum)

by Mao Pengfei, Nguon Sovan

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) , with some 1.9 million Chinese holidaymakers visiting the kingdom, up from 1.2 million one year earlier, Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon said in recent interview with Xinhua.

A total of 6.2 million international visitors traveled to the Southeast Asian country in 2018, up 11 percent from 5.6 million in the year before, he said.

“Chinese tourists had sustained our tourism growth last year,” Khon told Xinhua.

The two countries set 2019 as the China-Cambodia culture and tourism year. , , and increasing direct flights between the two countries.

Direct flights connecting the two countries have remarkably increased from 110 flights per week in 2016 to 404 flights per week now, according to a government report.

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Chhay Sivlin, , which represents nearly 300 tour and travel companies, said most of Chinese tourists visited the famed Angkor Archeological Park in Siem Reap province and the coastal province of Preah Sihanouk.

“, spending about 600 U.S. dollars for air fares and accommodation costs,” she told Xinhua. “This amount excludes their spending for doing shopping.”

Sivlin, who is also president and chief executive officer of CSL Travel & Tours, said Chinese tourists like doing shopping and purchasing high-end luxury goods.

HIGHER TARGET

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“Thanks to our close ties, our attractive tourism sites, and increasing direct flights between our two countries, I believe that we can achieve these targets,” the minister said.

In order to lure more Chinese travelers, he said the ministry would continue to encourage the owners of hotels, restaurants and resorts to use three languages -Khmer, English and Chinese – on their billboards or promotional leaflets.

Kong Sopheareak, director of the statistics and tourism information department at the Ministry of Tourism, said to prepare for the growing number of Chinse tourists, the kingdom needs to invest more in hotels, restaurants and transportation services.

“Also, we need to invest more in the development of human resources in tourism sector, especially in the training of Chinese speaking tour guides,” he told Xinhua.

SPRING FESTIVAL BOOM

, but he has observed that every year, a lot of Chinese tourists have visited the kingdom on the occasion.

“I think it is not different from previous years, .

The Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival falls on Feb. 5 this year.

Sopheareak said the demand for hotels, restaurant and transportation services was very high on the occasion. “As I know, most of the hotels, particularly in Siem Reap and Preah Sihanouk have been booked,” he said.

Sivlin said hotels at popular tourist sites are always fully booked during the Spring Festival season.

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Ho Vandy, president of World Express Tour and Travel Company, .

“As Chinese people are rich, they are keen to travel overseas on their holidays, .

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