Higher incomes prompting more Cambodians to travel

Higher incomes prompting more Cambodians to travel

Travellers wait in front of the check-in counters at Phnom Penh airport. (Khmer Times photo)

The number of outbound Cambodian travellers has increased during the first half of the year due to higher incomes in the country and a more crowded aviation market, according to the latest report from the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism.

During the first six months of the year, more than 960,000 Cambodians travelled abroad, a 14.5% hike that the ministry said follows an increase in living standards in the country as well as an expanding offer of destinations from the rapidly growing number of airlines operating in the country, the Khmer Times reported on Thursday.

Many Cambodians travelled to other countries during the first half of the year in search of medical treatment, for business, or because they were vacationing, the ministry said.

Higher salaries are making overseas holidays more affordable for an increasing number of Cambodians, said Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents.

“Also, people now have access to affordable travel packages and cheap airfares,” she said.

Kong Hoeng, vice president of tour and marketing at World Pop Travel and Tour, echoed these remarks.

“The number of people travelling outside the country continues to increase every year. From my experience, this is the result of people having more money, but it is also related to the fact that there is more competition in the aviation market pushing prices down,” he said.

Sivlin said that despite the huge number of flights connecting the kingdom to destinations in China, Cambodians’ favourite destinations are still inside the region.

She said Thailand and Singapore remain at the top of the list for most Cambodians, who want to visit these countries because they are relatively near and offer many opportunities for shopping, medical treatment and cultural experiences.

The ministry also reported that the number of international tourists to the Kingdom rose by nearly 13% during the same period, reaching 3 million people. Chinese tourists again topped the list, with nearly 932,000 Chinese nationals visiting the kingdom.