Cambodian Tourism On The Uptrend As 2023 Comes To A Close

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The combination of the start of the traditional ‘high season’ for tourism and several high-profile events such as the Water Festival, Angkor Marathon, and Kep Sea Festival has helped the Cambodian tourism industry recover as 2023 comes to a close.

Cambodian Tourism

Over four million foreign tourists have visited the Kingdom between January and the end of October of 2023, with arrivals from three nearby Asian countries topping the list, reported the Ministry of Tourism.

The combined visitors from Thailand, Vietnam, and China accounted for 63.1 per cent of all foreign visitors:

  1. Thailand – 1 million visitors (34.1 % of total foreign visitors)
  2. Vietnam – 825,970 (18.7%),
  3. China – 453,562 (10.3%)

It was previously announced that the Ministry of Interior’s General Department of Immigration will launch a “Cambodia e-Arrival” at Preah Sihanouk International Airport and Phnom Penh International Airport before being introduced at the Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport 2024. This is aimed at helping facilitate arriving passengers with the necessary e-forms.

Angkor Wat Continues To Be A Tourism Drawcard

The revenue generated in 2023 at Angkor Archaeological Park in Siem Reap reached USD $32 million by November, reported the state-run Angkor Enterprise (AE). Just shy of 700,000 foreign guests purchased tickets generating a 261.12 per cent increase in revenue compared to 2022.

Ticket prices for the Angkor park cost USD $37 for a one-day pass, three-day tickets are $62, and seven-day tickets are $72. Locally based expats and Cambodian nationals can access the park for free.

Angkor Half Marathon 2023

Angkor Half Marathon 2023

The start of December also saw the annual Angkor Half Marathon take place with as many as 10,000 runners involved, so when the month’s total numbers are released, they should reflect a bumper tourism month to end off the year.

Participants came from 78 countries at the 28th Angkor Wat International Half Marathon 2023 on December 3rd, and it was described as the largest field since the pandemic.

Thong Khon, president of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) said,“This is one of our largest annual sports tourism events. Held against the unique backdrop of Angkor, it promotes fun, friendship and solidarity among runners from all over the world. Cambodia is now one of the safest, most important tourist destinations, and provides a warm welcome to all guests, thanks to the peace, political stability, and development in all sectors that we all enjoy today.”

Of the more than ten thousand involved, 3,654 foreign runners were involved, with most representing the UK, US, and Europe.

With the launch of the new Siem Reap Airport in Q4 2023, the organisers are hoping additional new air routes could swell entries in 2024 to 15,000.

Water Festival Returns To Phnom Penh

Water Festival Phnom Penh

An estimated near five million visitors descended on Phnom Penh for Cambodia’s Water Festival at the end of November 2023 for the three day holiday. Other major events were also held in Kampot and Siem Reap but this was the first time it took place in the capital for a few years.

The organisers in the capital had made extra efforts to attract foreign tourists and Phnom Penh was noticeably packed for the extended long weekend.

More than 338 racing dragon boats from around the Kingdom competed (with as many as 20,000 competitors), while nightly fireworks and 30 light barges entertained the crowds which swelled along the banks of the Mekong. Both King Norodom Sihamoni and Prime Minister Hun Manet attended the closing ceremony of the Bon Om Touk festival.

10th Sea Festival 2023 – Kep

10th Sea Festival 2023 - Kep

The Sea Festival ran from December 1-3 2023 and was aimed at boosting tourism in the province and attracting more international tourists.

A number of sporting and cultural events took place, including coastal development projects, trade fairs, music performances, Kun Khmer boxing, beach volleyball, and the floating of lanterns.

Prime Minister Hun Manet was in attendance at the closing ceremony of the festival which was hoped to attract more than 100,000 domestic and international tourists over the course of the weekend.

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