January 16, 2024
PHNOM PENH – The opening of the 2024 Cambodia-China People-to-People Exchange in Siem Reap on January 12. Tourism Ministry
Cambodia looks forward to the Cambodia-China People-to-People Exchange Year in 2024 as a catalyst for increased tourism and investments. In 2023, the country welcomed approximately 540,000 Chinese tourists.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony on January 13 at the UNESCO-listed Angkor Archaeological Park, former Minister of National Defence Tea Banh, now a member of the Supreme Privy Council to the King, shared his optimism.
He foresees a swift return to pre-pandemic levels of international visitors coming to Cambodia.
“As tourism becomes a key player in Cambodia’s economy, my hope is for it to remain a vital force, boosting employment, income and contributing to the Pentagonal Strategy-Phase I. This aligns with our vision of achieving high-income country status by 2050,” he said.
Minister of Tourism Sok Soken highlighted that declaring 2024 as the year for Cambodia-China people-to-people exchanges will be a significant mechanism to draw more visitors to the Kingdom, fostering ties in tourism and culture and promoting exchanges, particularly among the youth and future leaders. This move contributes to the shared vision of building a community of common destiny between the two nations.
“To draw more tourists into the ‘2024 Cambodia-China People-to-People Exchange Year’ campaign, the tourism ministry is collaborating with the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, along with other relevant institutions. We’re set to roll out a range of unique, attractive, and lively events and programmes,” he said.
He said that these events blend sports and culture with tourism, encompassing exhibitions and various initiatives in collaboration with the Chinese side. These events will also align seamlessly with the kick-off of the 2024 Siem Reap campaign, aiming to craft a captivating calendar of events to draw tourists, particularly from China.
Soken added that, in the pursuit of attracting more tourists to Cambodia in 2024 and beyond, the nation is dedicated to promoting and investing in the development of creative and innovative tourism products.
This encompasses the enhancement of modern large international exhibitions and conferences, business centres, eco-tourism resorts, sporting events, coastal tourism, and services designed for seniors. The comprehensive approach aims to elevate Cambodia’s attractiveness to a diverse audience of visitors.
On January 14, Chinese Premier Li Qiang sent a congratulatory message for the China-Cambodia People-to-People Exchange year. He noted that the shared destiny between China and Cambodia has entered a new era of heightened quality and standards.
He said that as political trust deepens, practical cooperation is rapidly advancing, and people-to-people exchanges are progressing. This is bringing tangible benefits to the people of both countries.
“We envision that during the 2024 Cambodia-China People-to-People Exchange Year, both nations will grasp the opportunity to collaboratively implement the Global Civilisation Initiative. This aims to deepen cooperation, encourage cross-country tourism, strengthen youth relations and jointly establish a model for building a community of common destiny for humanity,” Li said.
Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), highlighted the deep-rooted civilisations and vibrant cultures shared by China and Cambodia. She emphasised the longstanding historical ties between the people of both nations. Sivlin acknowledged China’s status as the world’s largest economy, a factor that significantly impacts Cambodia’s tourism landscape.
“With these distinctive features and the orchestration of the campaign, I’m optimistic that tourism will see a substantial increase this year and beyond. We’re also in the process of preparing new and exciting tourism products,” she said.