Cambodia leads GMS tourism recovery with 82.4% bounce back

PHNOM PENH: The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) is experiencing a significant tourism revival, with a 60.5% increase in visitor numbers in 2023 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, according to a meeting of the Special GMS Tourism Working Group held on March 19, 2023 Bangkok, .

Cambodia emerged as a leader in the region's tourism resurgence, boasting an impressive 82.4% recovery rate. This stands out compared to other GMS members: Laos (71.3%), Thailand (70.5%), Vietnam (70%), and Myanmar (30%). Notably, China's Yunnan and Guangxi provinces, key tourist sources for the region, are still lagging with a recovery rate of only 3-5%.

Fueled by this positive momentum, the Asian Development Bank (ADB)'s GMS tourism team has drafted the “Greater Mekong Subregion Tourism Strategic Plan 2030.” This plan incorporates research on global tourism trends, regional and ASEAN tourism landscapes, and stakeholder feedback from GMS countries.

The strategic plan aims to realize the GMS tourism vision: “A destination that connects the with vibrant culture and people by providing a world-class sustainable tourism experience.” After regional consultations and finalization, the plan will be presented to GMS leaders for approval during a senior officials' meeting scheduled for August-October 2024.

Cambodia recorded some 540,023 international visitors in January 2024, up 34 percent compared to the same period last year, a report of the Ministry of Tourism showed earlier this month.

Thailand topped the chart among foreign arrivals to the Kingdom with 163,661, followed by Vietnam (85,700) and China (46,781), the source pointed out. Some 206,506 million tourists arrived in Cambodia via international airports, a year-on-year increase of 44.2 percent and the rest via land and waterways, it added.

The Ministry of Tourism has predicted that the Kingdom would welcome 7 million international visitors by 2025, surpassing the pre-COVID-19 pandemic level of 6.6 million in 2019.

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