November 11, 2011

More than half million Cambodians travel abroad in 9 months


PHNOM PENH, Nov. 11 -- The number of Cambodia's outbound travelers had seen a sharp increase of 38.6 percent to 509,200 in the first nine months of this year from only 367,300 in the same period a year ago, showed the statistics from the Ministry of Tourism on Friday.

In the month of September this year, Cambodian outbound tourists were 77,260, up 69 percent from 45,800 in the same month last year, it added.

Horth Vanny, chief of the tourism statistics office at the Ministry of Tourism, said Friday that most Cambodians have visited Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia thanks to visa exemption agreements and direct flight connections.

"For Vietnam and Thailand, we are neighbors and the roads are easy to access," he said.

Also, some are on their leisure or business trips to China and Hong Kong.

Ho Vandy, a board member of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents and president of the World Express Tours & Travel, attributed the sharp rise of Cambodian outbound tourists to better economic growth that led to better living conditions.

"As their cost of living has improved, some enjoy their holiday abroad and the others prefer their health check-up outside Cambodia, especially in Vietnam, Singapore or Thailand," he said.

The impoverished Southeast Asian nation has a population of 14. 3 million. By the end of 2010, the GDP per capita was 830 U.S. dollars, according to the government records. However, there is a wide gap between the urban rich and the rural poor.

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