BERLIN, GERMANY: A delegation from Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism is at one of the world’s largest travel trade shows, ITB Berlin, to drive business from Europe into the country.
The Ministry is accompanied by 11 private tourism businesses, including hotels and travel agents, at the event, which runs from March 7 to 9, to promote the country and various tour packages.
Prak Vuthy, the Ministry’s director of overseas marketing and promotion, said the Ministry is using the opportunity to promote the campaign, ‘Visit Cambodia Year 2023’ with a focus on sports and MICE tourism.
“This year will see Cambodia host the Southeast Asian Games and ASEAN Para Games, which is a big thing for Cambodia. We expect these events will attract many tourists to the country, and we will use them [the events] to promote sports tourism,” Prak said.
He added that Cambodia annually hosts many sporting events that attract visitors from across the globe, including the Angkor Half Marathon in December. In addition, he said Cambodia’s southern coastline is perfect for water activities, including sailing and yachting.
Previously, the Ministry said it expects the SEA Games and Para Games will attract between 250,000 and 500,000 international tourists.
Prak said while attending ITB Berlin presents an opportunity to strengthen ties with European partners, ASEAN-plus 3 remains the primary target. This represents ASEAN countries, as well as China, Japan and South Korea.
However, he said post-covid will see Cambodia target quality over quantity with regard to Chinese visitors. “Before the pandemic, there were a lot of zero dollar tours from China,” he said. “Now we’re working with local vendors to stop this. We want to focus on attracting quality tourists over quantity.”
He added that international arrivals from Europe currently only make up about 15 percent of the total market share. “The challenge is flights,” he said. “We have no direct flights from Europe and that makes it difficult.”
According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Tourism, Cambodia welcomed 2.277 million foreign visitors in 2022. This marks a 65.56 percent drop from 2019’s 6.611 million. Of those, Germany represented 1.08 percent – a slight fall from 2019’s 1.43 percent share.