Cambodia seems increasingly unlikely to reach its bold target of 5 million tourist arrivals in 2015, despite a rise in the first half of this year. The target represents a 10% increase over last year.
The country received about 2.3 million visitors from January to July, a 4.6% increase over the same period last year. Regional tourism is the mainstay, with tourists from Vietnam, China and South Korea leading other foreign travellers to the country.
Cambodia’s Tourism Minister Thong Khon told the Phnom Penh Post that South Korea and Russia, two other key groups, were showing signs of a slow-down.
He attributed the slowing in numbers from South Korea to the outbreak of Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in May, while economic problems have triggered a drop in visits from Russia.
The minister conceded arrivals were slower than expected but he has not abandoned hope that Cambodia may yet reach the target of 5 million.
Russia was the prime source of tourists from Europe to Cambodia in the first five months of the year, latest figures on the ministry’s website reveal.
Vietnam, China, South Korea, Thailand and Laos were the main sources of visitors over the same period.
Cambodia is working closely with Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry to promote joint tourism under the “Two Kingdoms-One Destination” banner, the Bangkok Post reports.
Edited by Peter Needham