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High-end tourist numbers low

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Two women walk through the entrance of a model of the Preah Vihear Temple at the Asian Culture and Tourism Exhibition in Beijing last week. XINHUA NEWS AGENCY

High-end tourist numbers low

Cambodia needs to improve its tourism sector services to capture more higher-income Chinese tourists. High-end visitors are currently still low, according to tourism insiders in the Kingdom.

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin on Sunday said the Kingdom has enjoyed a steady growth of Chinese tourist arrivals, but it does not have the capacity to reel in high-income guests.

She said developing a tourism market to bring in higher-income Chinese visitors would help Cambodia draw more revenue from the sector.

“In order to absorb the five-star Chinese tourists, we have to become a five-star [service provider] as well by developing excellent services in terms of value and quality.”

After attending the Asian Culture and Tourism Exhibition in China last week, Sivlin said many Chinese visitors and companies showed interest in travel and investment in Cambodia. The event gave a lot of positive feedback to the tourism sector in the Kingdom.

Last year, some 160 million Chinese travelled abroad.

Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak said Chinese tourists are considered as great potential visitors for every country in the world and every country has a policy of attracting Chinese tourists to travel for pleasure.

Although the ministry has put in a lot of work, the Kingdom still has much to do to respond to the rapid growth of Chinese tourists.

“Although we’ve strived to push training, we still face a lack of human resources and Chinese tour guides at the moment,” he said.

According to Sopheak, most foreign tourists stay in Cambodia for four to seven days and spend on average between $200-$300 per day.

Speaking at the opening of the Asian Culture and Tourism Exhibition on May 16, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said to accommodate the growth of foreign tourists, the government is planning to develop many infrastructure projects.

They include two additional airports in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, expansion of the airport in Preah Sihanouk province, expansion of Sihanoukville’s deep-water seaport, a tourism port in Kampot province, an expressway and provision of e-Visa services.

Meanwhile, Cambodia will also organise the 2nd Cambodia Tourism Investment Forum in October, he said.

A Ministry of Tourism report said in the first three months of this year Cambodia received over 1.8 million international tourists – up 9.7 per cent – of which Chinese nationals numbered the rest at more than 680,000 – a 35 per cent jump compared to the same period last year

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