Khieu Thy, President of the Association of Khmer Tourist Guides of Angkor, said that opening the kingdom to foreign tourists is now important. More precisely, it is the dream of the Cambodian tourism industry.
Suffering from a shortage of foreign visitors for over a year, Mr. Tai stressed that the tourism sector is facing an unprecedented drop.
“If Cambodia reopens its doors to foreign tourists in the fourth quarter, it will restore jobs and income for those working in the sector,” he said. A report from the Ministry of Tourism showed that 1,306,143 foreign tourists visited Cambodia last year, down 80.5% from the previous year (6,610,592 tourists in 2019).
The decline in tourist arrivals from overseas last year cost the Cambodian tourism industry more than $ 3 billion in lost revenue. International tourism revenues generated just $ 1.023 billion in 2020, down 79.2% from the $ 4.919 billion generated in 2019.
This year the situation is gradually changing for the better. Tourism Minister Tong Hon announced that Cambodia registered a total of 194,025 domestic tourists in May. The figure showed a sharp increase of 696.33 percent over the previous month. In April, all resorts in the country were temporarily closed by order, and a travel ban across the country was introduced to prevent the spread of Covid-19 during the Khmer New Year and beyond.
The travel ban and closure were introduced on April 6 and 17, respectively. On April 25, the government announced it would lift the inter-provincial travel ban and reopen most of the country’s tourist attractions, with a few exceptions.
Since then, the Ministry of Tourism has recommended that all provincial and municipal tourism departments and tourism-related businesses, as well as other interested organizations, strengthen health prevention measures and help ensure the safety of all tourists and service workers during the current pandemic.