China's Reopening Revives Int'l Tourism Market, Says Cambodian Gov't Spokesman

Air China flight CA745, carrying some 125 Chinese tourists, arrives at the Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Feb. 7, 2023. Photo by Phearum/Xinhua

PHNOM PENH -- China's optimization of its anti-COVID-19 strategy and resumption of its outbound group tours earlier this year have revived the tourism industry in countries around the world, Cambodian government chief spokesman Phay Siphan has said.

In an interview with Xinhua on Thursday, Siphan said with the population of more than 1.4 billion, China is the most important outbound tourism market for the world.

"Not only Cambodia, but also the whole ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Asia and Europe need Chinese tourists, so China's reopening has contributed to reviving tourism around the world in the post-COVID-19 era," he said.

"China's reopening has added momentum to the global economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic," Siphan said. "This is a great boon to boost tourists to Cambodia and other regions."

Siphan also predicted that China's economy would remain strong and resilient in 2023, propelled by the country's reopening and effective pro-growth policies. He added that China would remain the engine of global economic growth this year and beyond.

Tourism is one of four pillars supporting Cambodia's economy. China was the biggest source of foreign tourists to Cambodia in the pre-pandemic era, a Ministry of Tourism's report said, adding that the kingdom received 2.36 million Chinese tourists in 2019, accounting for 35.7 percent of total tourist arrivals to the country and generating about 1.8 billion U.S. dollars in revenue.

The Southeast Asian nation is expected to attract 4 million international tourists, including between 800,000 and 1 million Chinese tourists, in 2023, according to the Ministry of Tourism's prediction.

"Thanks to close relationship between our two governments and peoples, I believe that a large number of Chinese tourists and investors will return to Cambodia, like it was before the pandemic," Siphan said.

"The comeback of Chinese tourists and investors will undoubtedly inject fresh vitality into Cambodia's socio-economic development and poverty reduction in the post-pandemic era," he added.

Cambodia is famous for its three world heritage sites, namely the Angkor archeological park in the northwest Siem Reap province, the Preah Vihear Temple in the northwest Preah Vihear province, and the Sambor Prei Kuk archeological site in the central Kampong Thom province.

Also, it has a pristine coastline stretching in the length of 450 km in the four southwest provinces of Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kep and Koh Kong.

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