Cambodia’s tourism grows

Written by Rapeepat Mantanarat

Tourists from Thailand to Cambodia skyrocketed almost triple during April; raising Thailand to fourth place on the top source country list.

Cambodia’s Statistics and Tourism Information Department at the Tourism Ministry reported tourist arrivals from Thailand skyrocketed 165.2% during April from 7,987 to 21,178.

April had various holidays such as the Songkran holiday, a long holiday to celebrate Thai New Year and earlier in the month the Coronation Day holiday.

Together they represented golden travel weeks for tourism. Another important factor was the improvement of diplomatic relations with Cambodia after the Yingluck government took office.

Tourists from Thailand have rebounded with visits improving 64% during the first three months of this year moving the Thai market to seventh place, up from the eighth at the end of 2011.

Overall, Cambodia welcomed 277,304 during April, an increase of 24.3%. Looking at January to April figures, the growth slowed down slightly compared to the first quarter bringing the average growth down from 27.8% to 27.1%. The accumulated arrivals were 1,272.514.

Besides Thailand that was recorded a drastic improvement in April, arrivals from the neighbouring Laos and the Philippines also showed impressive increases, 69.8% and 60.4% respectively.

Laos is the same as Thailand having its traditional New Year celebration in April. As for the Philippines, the inauguration of the first air link between the two countries (Manila-Siem Reap) 19 April by Cebu Pacific largely contributed to the growth and the annual Easter holiday peak. Cebu Pacific uses a 180-seat A319 aircraft flying three times a week.

The Top three suppliers — Vietnam, South Korea and China still grew substantially by around 30%. However, There were a couple of the top 10 markets showing declines: US (-2.4%) and Japan (-4.5%).

The surge in trips from neighbouring countries was also reflected in a rise of arrivals by land. In April, arrivals via overland checkpoints accounted for 53.1% (147,325), while arrivals by air, 45.5% (126,282). Data showed that 26.1% of people travelling by air landed in Siem Reap while 19.4% landed in Phnom Penh.

In terms of regions, Asia and the Pacific recorded the strongest growth of 32% (212,038) followed by the Middle East, 20.6% (666); Europe, 6.8% (45,321); the Americas, 0.2% (18,865) and Africa, -30.4% (373).

Several countries in Europe reported declines, including the UK that dipped 2.4%. France and Germany recorded small improvement, 6% and 3% respectively.

The overall growth of 6.8% was largely due to the growth of the Russian market  at 34.7%.

Siem Reap welcomed 179,778 tourists, or 64.8% of the total, improving 38.3%. Meanwhile, Phnom Penh and other destinations tallied 97,526 tourists with a small improvement of 4.8% over the same period in 2011.

Trips by Cambodians reached 70,738, a 35.7% rise over the same month last year.

Top 10 Arrivals in April 2012

Top 10 Arrivals during January to April 2012