Tourism is the star sector of Thailand’s economy right now, growing at a nice healthy pace, faster than other sectors of the economy.
Now, Cambodia wants a piece of the action too and has formulated a special strategy and centre to attract Chinese tourists.
Tourists walk at Banteay Srey temple of Angkor complex in Siem Reap province on April 15, 2016. Cambodia has set up the China Ready Centre to attract more Chinese tourists. (AP photo)
CHINA READY CENTRE (CRC)¬
Cambodia has established the China Ready Centre (CRC) to cater to roughly 2 million Chinese tourists expected to visit the country per year by 2020.
The centre will also work on improving the skills of local tourism operators working with Chinese clients.
‚ÄúThe China Ready Centre (CRC) was set up recently due to the rapid yearly growth of Chinese tourist arrivals in the country,‚ÄĚ announced Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon at the inaugural National Tourism Workshop on Sunday.
‚ÄúThis centre will facilitate research on the requirements and demands of Chinese tourists as well as strengthen the Chinese language and cultural skills of Cambodian tourism operators,‚ÄĚ Khon said.
‚ÄúThe Tourism Ministry will cooperate fully with the CRC to ensure its success and also help it get accredited with a similar centre in Australia,‚ÄĚ added the minister.
Angkor Wat from the air (Source: Wikipedia)
FIVE-YEAR STRATEGY FOR ATTRACTING CHINESE TOURISTS
Early this year, the ministry released a white paper titled ‚ÄúChina Ready for Cambodia Tourism‚ÄĚ outlining a five-year strategy for attracting Chinese tourists to the country with the aim of getting 2 million Chinese tourists to visit the country per year by 2020.
In the first four months of this year, Cambodia recorded about 275,000 Chinese tourist arrivals, up by 13.6% compared to the same period last year.
Last year, 694,712 tourists from China visited the country of Cambodia and this was a 14.5% increase from 2014.
COMPARED TO THAILAND & VIETNAM STILL LOW CHINESE ARRIVALS
But compared to neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam, the number of tourist arrivals from China is still low.
In 2014, Thailand recorded 7.9 million Chinese tourist arrivals while Vietnam recorded 1.6 million.
Ho Vandy, secretary general of Cambodia‚Äôs National Tourism Alliance, told the Khmer Times that the centre was crucial for attracting large numbers of Chinese tourists to the country.
‚ÄúThe Chinese inbound tourism market is progressing and we should not lose sight of it,‚ÄĚ Vandy stressed.
OTHER COUNTRIES’ TOURISTS NEEDED FOR DIVERSITY, DON’T FORGET IT
However, Vandy added a word of caution. ‚ÄúWe also need to acknowledge that not all the 1,000 or so tourist agents and companies in the country focus solely on the China market. They also have to work with tourists from other parts of the world in order to diversify their businesses,‚ÄĚ he pointed out.
Instead, Vandy said, the ministry should also ensure that the centre receives full cooperation from the private sector instead of just making it a government – supported tourism research centre.
Dawn at Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia (Source: Wikipedia)