Q1 foreign arrivals up by 114% in Cambodia
From 70,901 foreign arrivals to Cambodia in the first quarter of 2021, latest records of the Ministry of Tourism – Tourism Statistics Department show a 114 percent increase in arrivals during the same period this year.
Of the total 1,211 flights to the country, the majority were to the capital city of Phnom Penh (1,102 flights), followed by Siem Reap and Sihanoukville provinces at 144 and 55 flights, respectively. These figures do not include trips made by land, such as those from neighboring countries Vietnam and Thailand.
According to Kong Sopheareak, director of Tourism Statistics Department at the Ministry of Tourism, the increase in visitors resulted from the loosened restrictions imposed starting November of last year.
From that point, the Kingdom reopened its borders to fully vaccination travelers with no need for quarantine and resumed fully its socio-economic activities and events. These were implemented after a high percentage of the population had already been vaccinated against Covid-19, indicating the country’s readiness towards building its new, post-pandemic “normal.”
Progress was also felt by the Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap, which includes UNESCO World Heritage Site Angkor Wat. From 4,482 visitors in the first quarter of 2021, the temple complex saw a total of 19,840 registered foreign visitors and earned 340 percent more in gross revenue.
Especially considering the quarantine-free policy, Sopheareak shared that the department expects a rise in international tourists this year, from 200,000 in 2021, about 600,000 to 700,000 by December.
These statistics are especially optimistic in the Kingdom’s recovery from the socio-economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic, as tourism is one of the four economic pillars of the country which include garments and agriculture.
The global health crisis had first led to nationwide restrictions in 2020, then peaked in March 2021. From then, it was primarily through massive vaccination efforts and that the country was able to get through the worst in its pandemic timeline. By October last year, the government relaunched the e-visa system and subsequently lifted the quarantine requirement for vaccinated travelers. By Christmas, tourism hotspot Siem Reap City officially opened for a new chapter of tourism, booming with several new developments.