To enhance and broaden the scope of its promotional activities, Cambodia has decided to revise a sub-decree concerning the organisation and functioning of the Cambodia Tourism Marketing and Promoting Board, a joint institution between the government and the private sector. The modification aims to play a crucial role in promoting and drawing more tourists to the country.

The amendment to the legislation, signed by Prime Minister Hun Manet on February 6, amends several articles of Sub-Decree No 57, which was originally issued on May 2, 2018. Specifically, the new sub-decree amends five articles from the previous one, including articles 1, 2, 10, 12 and 15.

The redrafted sub-decree states: “[It] aims to strengthen and expand the means of developing and attracting tourism by enhancing and broadening the scope of tourism promotion in Cambodia. It promotes partnership cooperation and participation between the public and private sectors in ensuring the quality of services and tourism products, thereby promoting Cambodian tourism in international markets”.

Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Cambodia chapter, told The Post on February 8 about the significance of updating the legislation.

He explained that it is intended to help revive the tourism sector, which has seen a significant downturn since the onset of Covid-19 in early 2020. 

Despite the diminishing concerns over Covid-19, Sinan noted that global political and economic crises in recent years have continued to exert pressure on the sector.

“The modification is in line with the evolution of society, but its effectiveness also depends on the independence of the operators, their capabilities and the resources allocated for promotional activities,” he said.

Sinan added that under the previous sub-decree, the board consisted of 15 members, including eight government representatives and seven from the private sector in tourism.

The sector is gradually recovering from the impacts of the pandemic, evidenced by a significant increase in visitor numbers. 

In 2023, the nation welcomed over 5.4 million foreign tourists, marking an almost 140% increase from the previous year. The resurgence has been largely attributed to visitors from four Asian countries, who collectively accounted for 68.9% of all foreign tourists, according to the ministry.

Official figures from the ministry show that Cambodia received 5,453,231 foreign visitors in 2023, a 139.5% rise compared to 2,276,626 in 2022. 

Thailand was the top country of origin, with 1,820,460 tourists, representing 33.4% of the total, followed by Vietnam with 1,019,812 (18.7%), China with 547,798 (10%) and Laos with 372,285 (6.8%). 

The number of tourists from Thailand, Vietnam, China and Laos increased by 113.3%, 119.8%, 412.6% and 302%, respectively, compared to 2022. Other significant countries of origin included the US, South Korea, Indonesia, France, the UK and Malaysia, as per the ministry.