Cambodia. The Destination of Dreams
Cambodia is in a favorable position to take advantage of its location in a highly
developed regional market that has shown strong tourism growth. The country has a
significant and internationally recognized cultural heritage.
This can be developed as an integral part of the tourist experience, which
increasingly encompasses cultural heritage and entertainment, including museums
and art galleries, and traditional theater and dance. Restoration and preservation of
cultural and religious sites and traditions, plus support for contemporary cultural and
artistic activities, can be a source of continued spiritual and cultural vitality, and the
foundation of cultural tourism.
As we have all heard many times, tourists spend less time and money in Cambodia
than they do in neighboring countries. Most tourists come to Cambodia to see Angkor
Wat. They tour the temples, buy some souvenirs, take some pictures and then fly
away. We at PPSEZ view it as our corporate responsibility to view it in a different
manner and want to help the RGC in a larger and more comprehensive manner to
place the Kingdom of Cambodia as a “Full Tourist Destination” larger than the
currently projected “extension of a destination”. We want to mark Cambodia as their
premium tourist as well as incentive, meeting and convention destination.
We have noted that tourism is a fickle industry, and its success is influenced by many
factors. Like fashion, many locations are booming for a while, but tourists can soon
lose interest in them. The environment becomes spoiled, once quiet and idyllic
places can become loud and overcrowded. And then tourists are likely to move on to
another place, since there is high competition around the globe.
It is the wish many to view this as a unique opportunity to create a niche market in
tourism and use our current and future business environment as a catalyst for
multiplier tourism potential and related infrastructure.
The goal is to give tourists an opportunity to learn more about Cambodia because
tourists, who stay longer, spend more.
The general idea is to raise everyone’s awareness about the true potentials of
Cambodia’s tourism as a destination by itself. “Cambodia is blessed with great
tourism potential – Angkor Wat is a wonder of the world, the culture is rich and
interesting, while Sihanoukville’s beaches are beautiful and forests still have wildlife
In a developing country like Cambodia, tourism can be a great boon because it
brings jobs and human resources development to rural areas where these are badly
needed, and it can stimulate the development of all kinds of enterprises such as
furniture makers, organic growers, craft producers, craft sellers, performers etc.
which start up to supply the tourist industry but grow to serve other markets.
Cambodia has much to offer from beautiful white sand beaches in the South to
trekking among the hill tribes in the North. The increasing ease and inexpensive price
of traveling to and within Cambodia, has led to a major increase in the number of
tourists flocking to this Southeast Asian nation annually. Tourism has become
Cambodia’s top three leading source of foreign exchange, and thus plays an
unquestionably important role in the Cambodian economy.
Fortunately the there is little or no negative environmental, cultural, and biological
impact of tourism in Cambodia thus far and the government has been fairly
thorough in dealing with any issues related to these. Cambodia is not suffering from
many of the negative aspects of tourism: the destruction of coral and marine life due
to water activities such as boating and scuba diving; waste dumping by hotels and
restaurants; uncontrolled construction of tourist facilities on islands such as that
experienced in neighboring countries.
Cambodia’s tourism development potential is based on both cultural and natural
assets. The premier attraction is the Angkor ruins near Siem Reap, which is now
served by direct international flights. This built cultural heritage resource has the
UNESCO status of a World Heritage site, and its controlled development has
facilitated tourism expansion without site degradation. Supplementing this attraction,
the capital, Phnom Penh, has architectural, cultural and scenic assets attractive to
tourists, and is also served by an international airport that is being constantly
upgraded to permit increasing visitor numbers.
The southern coast near Sihanoukville is a popular recreational and tourist
destination since the 1960s, and rehabilitation and development of facilities there has
facilitated increased visitation while the upgrading of the passenger harbor for cruise
liners and the airport to that of a regional airport, will boost Sihanoukville’s potential
even more. In the longer term, the northern and north-eastern provinces offer
opportunities for nature-based tourism and cultural tourism development.
Interest in nature-based tourism is increasing, as Cambodia has a number of
species that are endangered and whose numbers have declined in other parts of
Asia, and possesses areas of natural beauty that could also become accessible
through the development of national parks and marine reserves. Visits to hot springs,
waterfalls, lakes, rivers, forest reserves, fishing villages, marine areas, and wildlife
reserves would appeal to a substantial number of travelers.
There are eight areas with recognized tourism development potential:
1. Siem Reap and Angkor Archaeological Park, which will remain one of the
world’s major archaeological sites and tourist attractions and, for the
foreseeable future, it is the main tourism asset. It is recognized as a symbol of
2. The North/North East, which can offer cultural tourism including village-based
accommodation (including with hill tribes); nature-based tourism; adventure
tourism (trekking, game watching, safari-style camps); and river-based
3. The North, which offers archaeological and religious interest in built cultural
heritage sites, especially at Preah Vihear; nature-based tourism; adventure
tourism; and village-based accommodation.
4. The Middle Plain, which offers nature and river-based tourism on Tonle Sap
and the Mekong; rural exploration; wildlife; fishing; floating villages; and
temples and archaeological sites.
5. The Middle Mekong Delta, which offers river-based tourism; rural exploration;
and wildlife (mainly birds).
6. The Western Coastal Area, which offers mountaineering and trekking; wildlife
viewing; adventure tourism, including white water rafting; coastal areas of
scenic beauty; and unspoilt forested areas.
7. The Eastern Coastal Area, which includes Sihanoukville, Kampot, and Kep
and surrounding areas, has potential for beach holiday resort development;
island cruises; and nature-based tourism, especially in Bokor National Park.
8. Phnom Penh and Surrounds, offers major tourist attractions in the form of the
Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda, the National Museum, the French-influenced
built environment, the scenic attractions of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers,
and the Tuol Sleng museum.
With pristine beaches rivaling Asia's best holiday destinations, Cambodia's
Sihanoukville is poised to jump into the global tourism arena.
Thousands of tourists are already lured to Cambodia by the ancient Angkor Wat
temple complex but few other sights attract their attention or their desperately
sought-after dollars. Sniffing opportunity, the government and private investors are
lining up to position the southwestern port town of Sihanoukville as a tropical
getaway, competing with the likes of Thailand's Phuket and Indonesia's Bali.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE FIRST SEVEN MONTHS 2007 REPORT
For the Seven months of 2007, Cambodia reached a total of 1,118,659 international
visitor, an 19.46% increase compared to the same period of 2006, Siem Reap
Province arrivals had increased with 678,422 visitors with a share of 60.65% and an
increase of 50.17% change from last year, while Phnom Penh and other
destinations had brought in a total of 440,237 visitors and a share of 39.35%.
Mode of arrivals
The total number of visitor arrivals to Cambodia by Air this month was 743,217 with a
share of 66.44%, giving it a change of 34.94%. This consisted of flights that had been
scheduled through the Phnom Penh and Siem Reap International Airport.
Phnom Penh International Airport had 301,175 visitor arrivals this month with a share
of 26.92%, with a change of 30.42% increase, while Siem Reap International Airport
had 442,042 visitor arrivals this month giving it a share of 39.52%, with an increased
change of 38.20%.
Other travelers went via Land & Waterways, which made up about one-third of the
total number of visitor arrivals with 329,401; this gives it a share of 29.45%.
Visitors arriving by land comprised of 305,717, with a share of 27.33%.
Waterways made up 23,684 visitor arrivals with a share of 2.12%, giving it an
increase of 7.83%.
Same-day visitors brought in 46,041; with a share of 4.12%
Top ten markets arrivals
The Republic of Korea maintained its leading position, being at the top with 221,381
with a share of 19.79% and 32.28% increase in arrivals from last year. Japan ranks
in second with 83,913 visitors which consisted of shares of 7.50%, with a change of
4.57% from 2006 – 2007. It is followed by the US, with an 81,106 arrivals with shares
of 7.25% and a change of 14.59% increase from that of last year.
Other Countries visitors and change were as follows: Taiwan 70,998 (+71.31%);
Vietnam 70,688 (+65.41%); China 65,628 (+54.74%); Thailand 53,238 (+30.14%);
France 49,056 (+26.59%); United Kingdom 48,746 (+23.37%); Malaysia 47,182
Infrastructure is being repaired, government buildings are being repaired, you can
see improvements with parks and gardens.
Cambodia is on the brink of breaking free from its neighbors stranglehold on its
tourism potentials. There is sustained political, security, economic and social stability
for the past decade. Infrastructure has enabled the country to be connected, both in
terms of roads and telecommunications.
The extension of the Phnom Penh airport has enabled the dream of seeing wide
bodied jets like the 747 becoming a reality as Qantas has already flown its 747-400
to the airport while a smaller 747 has landed at Siem Reap. Excitement is building for
the day when 24 hour flight operations and continuous arrivals of long haul and
regional flights take international travelers beyond the 2 million a year mark in the
next 12 months.
Charter flights by international carriers are also expanding and JAL is commencing
its charter flights to Siem Reap, following other private charter groups.
Competitive economic and investment benefits have led to an influx of FDI and
business, convention and incentive travelers.
Thus, Cambodia is ready and will be a tourist and economic destination on its own
accord as it now possess all the necessary elements for this - infrastructure, security,
stability at all fronts, investment benefits and economic opportunities.