US businesses keen on Cambodia tourism opportunities

Investors from the United States are setting their sights on Cambodia’s tourism opportunities, the Ministry of Tourism said.

The ministry said on Monday that US investors expressed interest in taking advantage of the tourism opportunities in Vietnam during a meeting with ministry’s high officials.

The US delegation was led by Honorary Consul of Cambodia to California, Hout Kim Chha and LA Port representative Norman Arikawa in a bid to boost US-Cambodia tourism and trade investments.

Data from the ministry showed that some 177,691 visitors from the US visited Cambodia during the first nine months of the year, down two percent from the same period last year, and only accounted for 3.7 percent of the total number of tourists.

Meanwhile, a total of 250,000 Cambodians visited the US.

Top Sopheak, spokesman for the Ministry of Tourism, said that US investors were interested in the tourism sector in Cambodia, particularly on making investments in infrastructure, hotels, setting up direct flights, and training human resources.

“I think that coming to explore investment opportunities is a good sign which is in line with the government’s policy of opening to local and international investors to contribute to the development of tourism,” he said.

“This is a great opportunity for Cambodia to showcase its potential tourism destinations, which is attractive to foreign investors,” he added.

So Visothy, under-secretary of state, said: “We have progressed in the tourism sector and the government’s vision to transform Cambodia into an attractive international destination.”

Cambodia is targeting to achieve seven million foreign tourists by 2020 and 15 million by 2030, he said.

“In order to achieve this growth, the Kingdom needs to develop infrastructure, new tourism products and strengthen its human resources, especially to create more direct flights.”

Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Chhay Sivlin, meanwhile, said he is optimistic that US business investors will invest in the Kingdom’s tourism sector, given the country’s political and economic stability.

“This shows that they notice the potential of our tourism sector, and our progressive development and political stability. This will boost tourism growth as well,” she said.

The ministry’s report said in the first nine months of the year, Cambodia saw 4.81 million tourist arrivals, an increase of 10 percent over the same period last year.

Chinese nationals remained the top in the list of foreign visitors in recent years.