Sea Visits To Cambodia On The Rise But Infrastructure Needed

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Sihanoukville’s port has already received 23 cruise ships in 2017, and visiting naval vessels putting it on course for a banner year.

Cambodia’s tourism revenue has been aided by a growing number of foreign visitors arriving by sea, although stakeholders in the sector have noted that limited port and tourism infrastructure is hampering the realisation of its full potential.

Preah Sihanouk’s provincial tourism department deputy director of marketing and promotions May Nimol revealed that 49 cruise ships and foreign navy vessels called at Sihanoukville’s deepwater port last year, seven more than in 2015, translating to 52,654 total foreign tourist arrivals by sea in 2016 which represents a 19 percent year-on-year increase.

“Foreign tourist arrivals by sea offer a big potential for the growth of the tourism sector,” he said, pointing out that “passengers arriving on ships are usually wealthy and enjoy spending money during their visits”.

However, the city has no passenger terminal or tourist amenities at the port such as ATMs or public restrooms, with international luxury hotel brands yet to establish a presence. Many of the cruise ships that call at the port must anchor offshore and ferry passengers to shore in tenders.

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