Chinese tourists will increase to travel to Cambodia, all tourism business will have to be prepared and invest to catch these new travellers.
Chinese tourists to Cambodia
Chinese tourists again topped the list of foreign visitors to Cambodia during the first nine months of this year, with the Ministry of Tourism on Wednesday reporting a 30% increase on the same period last year.
The Kingdom received 4.81 million international tourists in that period, a 10% increase fr last year. A total of 1.86 million Chinese accounted for 38.7 percent of all foreign tourists,
according to the ministry’s monthly report. This figure is expected to increase to 3 million Chinese visitors alone in 2020.
Vietnamese tourists ranked second, with a total of 63,700 visitors, up 9.1%, while the number of Thai visitors was recorded at 28,100 – an increase of 22.4 percent.
Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post that a large number of Chinese tourists traveling to Cambodia was a pivotal contributor to the industry’s growth, with tourist-friendly Siem, Reap experiencing a slight dip in the name of foreign visitors. The industrial growth can be explained by the increase in returns from the tourism sector. Thus what is known as economic growth. The major contributors for such being the earning of foreign exchange.
“The growth is consistent with the ministry’s forecast of 6.6 million international tourists this year,’ he said, noting that the number of visitors from other Asian countries such as Korea and Laos had fallen in the period.
Cambodia Tourism Bureau
Around 3.39 million tourists arrived in Cambodia by air, up 14.7 percent on last year, with two of the Kingdom’s three international airports recording increases in arrivals.
Phnom Penh International Airport received 12.7 percent more passengers over the period, while Sihanoukville International Airport recorded a 308 percent increase.
However, arrivals at Siem Reap International Airport dropped by 10.9% when compared to the same period last year.
Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (Cata) president Chhay Sivlin told The Post that while the growth in the number of Chinese tourists was encouraging, he was concerned by the drop in visitors from other countries.
“The growth in the number of Chinese tourists is positive, but the decline in other foreign tourists such as from Korea and the US is not good news,” she said.
Last year, Cambodia recorded a total of 6.2 million visitors travelling to Cambodia from abroad, up 10.7% from 2017 – with Chinese nationals making up 2.02 million. source
Opportunities for Cambodian Hotels, entertainment, Shops, leisure businesses
Sihanoukville, a once-sleepy beach town, symbolizes the transformation brought about by Chinese investment in Cambodia. The city of around 160,000 inhabitants has been entirely
transformed by Chinese casinos, hotels, and factories in recent years.
Many Chinese firms have set up factories in the town. The main attraction for business is the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ), a China-Cambodia tax-free economic zone.
Chinese companies run the majority of the over 100 factories in the region. A Chinese construction company is also building a four-lane highway to connect Sihanoukville to Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
Relations between Cambodia and China gained momentum after the two countries established a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2010.
Opportunities for Small Cambodian Businesses
Local Businessese have to be active, and invest in WeChat, Baidu Chinese Website to catch Chinese tourists
- More than 1.27 million Chinese People visited the country in the first eight months of 2018, a + 72 %
- But local Cambodian say Chinese-owned businesses are taking all benefits
Belt and Road Initiative
Massive investment In 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping unveiled his gigantic Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which envisions rebuilding the old Silk Road to improve connectivity between Asia, Europe, and Africa.
As part of the project, China is building a web of transport and other physical infrastructure such as roads, railways, seaports, and pipelines in various countries, including Cambodia.
The Southeast Asian nation, a firm supporter of BRI, has benefitted enormously from Chinese money, which has helped finance a host of infrastructure projects.
Beijing has so far funded construction of seven hydropower dams that are collectively capable of generating half of Cambodia’s entire electricity needs. It has also built about 3,000
kilometers (1,864 miles) of highways and numerous bridges since the mid-1990s.
All these investments have turned China into Cambodia’s largest foreign direct investor and closest ally. Negative effects Although Chinese investments have significantly contributed to Cambodia’s economic growth, the benefits of Chinese money have not been widely shared with the local population. It appears to have benefited only some privileged sections of Cambodian society, who own land or operate businesses that cater to Chinese nationals. And instead of hiring local workers, many Chinese businesses tend to import them from China, fueling resentment among Cambodians.
Chinese Companies offer Opportunities
Chinese companies prefer Chinese workers because they find it easier to work with them, as they share the same language and work ethic, say, observers. A report published by Cambodia’s Interior Ministry stated that over 250,000 Chinese nationals currently reside in the country. This is over 60% of all foreign residents in Cambodia.
Chinese workers are, in most cases, offered a higher wage than Cambodians, experts say. Sophal Ear, an associate professor at Occidental College in the United States, told DW that there is a growing concern over Chinese domination of the local economy. Domination could mean the death of local industries. Sophal said Chinese investment, despite the boost in economic growth, has had a negative impact as a significant portion of the money has gone into casinos and real estate, which facilitate financial crimes and money laundering.
Some Cambodian officials admit that not all is well with the influx of Chinese immigrants. Cambodia’s National Police website quoted Sok Phal, a secretary of state in the Interior Ministry, as saying that of the Chinese nationals living in the country, over 78,000 reside in Preah Sihanouk province, and only 20,000 have work permits. The ministry has announced that from 2014 until the end of July, more than 2,700 Chinese nationals were deported.
High reliance on China In recent years, Cambodia has increasingly turned toward China for financial and diplomatic assistance as Phnom Penh faced increased Western pressure over the state of democratic and human rights in the country.
Meanwhile, trade between Cambodia and China has risen rapidly in recent years, amounting to $6 billion (€5.4 billion) in 2017. Chinese exports to Cambodia account for 87% of that figure. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said China wants to see bilateral commerce increase to $10 billion by 2023.
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