Cambodia’s tourism to take longer to recover from pandemic hinh anh 1Cambodian people wear face masks (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Phnom Penh (VNA)
– Cambodia’s tourism, which is the most vulnerable industry from the spread of coronavirus, will see a slower recovery than other sectors after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, according to Chhay Sivlin, President of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents.

She told Khmer Times that tourism activity will not return to normal soon because it is a global crisis and it’s related to  people’s feelings. People will need time to save money they lost during the crisis”.

It will take at least half to one year for people to start taking holidays while long-haul tourism could take longer, she said.

However, she said Cambodia must be ready to welcome more foreign visitors after the situation returns to normal.

“We need to prepare in advance an attractive package with good promotions, good prices and diversify our eco-tourism destinations,” she said, adding that for Cambodia the tourism sector will still have room to grow.

COVID-19 has affected a total of 630,000 people in the tourism sector and some 30,000 of them are now unemployed, of whom 10,000 were tour operators, 10,000 worked at hotels, about 6,000 were tour guides and others worked in restaurants, according to Chhay.

Data from the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism shows that Cambodia welcomed over 6.6 million foreign visitors last year, a 6.61 percent increase from 2018. Chinese tourists topped the list, with 2.36 million, up 16.7 percent, followed by Vietnamese with 908,803, up 13.6 percent.

In the first two months of this year, the country hosted 931,826 foreign visitors, a decline of 50 percent compared to the same period last year.
The ministry’s spokesman Top Sopheak said the ministry still promotes the tourism sector both locally and abroad although it cannot hold any special events or expos because of the need for self-distancing.

Hong Vannak, a business researcher at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, said that in addition to the garment sector, tourism has the most potential to boost growth after COVID-19./.