The Cambodian Ministry of Tourism (MoT) has released the latest figures of foreign visitors to Cambodia from January-May 2020 and the numbers are down by 59% compared to 2019.
Unsurprisingly the latest data from the MoT continues to suggest a decline in international visitors to the Kingdom of Cambodia, as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on tourism worldwide.
Tourism is considered one of Cambodia’s key pillars in terms of industries and revenue generation. Cambodia attracted 6.6 million international visitors in 2019, earning a total revenue of 4.9 billion U.S. dollars.
In total, Cambodia received 1.17 million foreign visitors during the first five months of 2020, representing a 59% drop from 2.88 million visitors over the same period in 2019. The figures for May 2020 were very poor with only 10,475 foreign visitors, a drop of 97.8% compared to the same month in 2019.
Of the international visitors, the largest numbers were from China, Vietnam, Thailand, the United States and South Korea.
Cambodia continues to have quite strict entry restrictions for all foreign travellers which have been in place since March 2020. No new tourist visas have been issued and business visas to are not easy to obtain with the health and quarantine costs also putting off international business visitors.
There was some recent discussion that the travel restrictions to Cambodia would be eased, even only if for specific investor groups.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said in June 2020, that Cambodia could lose approximately 3 billion U.S. dollars of tourism revenue in 2020. He added, “For 2020, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the number of foreign tourists to Cambodia can drop by 70%.”
Cambodia businesses reacting to COVID-19
In recent weeks, most businesses sectors have been allowed to reopen in Cambodia, even if some have had to adjust to the COVID-19 situation and accompanying Cambodian government change requests.
It looks likely some international schools will open again in August 2020, with spas and gyms as well as cinemas the last remaining sectors to receive a green light.
F&B outlets have been open with stricter protocols for health reasons while many karaoke and clubs have transformed into restaurants to be allowed to resume business.
Casinos were given the go-ahead recently but only once they had applied for and received the government approval. NagaWorld in Phnom Penh was the only reported casino operator in the Kingdom to announce it had resumed business operations.
The Cambodian government has announced a number of measures to try and assist local businesses including delays on tax and loan repayments, postponing MoT license renewal fees and more.