Cambodia – Tourism feels shifting axis

the-beauty-of-cambodia

While Vietnamese visitors continued to top the list of international tourist arrivals to Cambodia in 2016, their numbers dipped as the number of Chinese tourists continued to surge and looks set to take the top notch this year, according to newly released Tourism Ministry annual figures.

The data showed total tourist arrivals from Vietnam fell 3 percent to 950,000 last year, while Chinese arrivals surged 19 percent to 830,000 over the same period.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA), expressed confidence that China would soon overtake Vietnam as the main source of the Kingdom’s tourists.

“Following the strengthening of the relationship between Cambodia and China and the government’s strategy to promote more Chinese tourist arrivals, China will soon be the leader for tourism visits in Cambodia,” she said yesterday.

Sivlin noted that the Ministry of Tourism still needs to increase the number of direct flights to the Kingdom in order to reach the country’s target of welcoming 7 million tourists by 2020, including 2 million Chinese visitors.

“Compared to neighboring countries, the number of international arrivals is still small because the shortage of direct flights is limiting international arrivals,” she said. “The government needs to speed up the process of approving direct flights to reach its tourism goals.”

According to the Ministry of Tourism, total tourist arrivals topped 5 million in 2016, from 4.8 million a year earlier, while total revenue from tourism decreased to $3 billion in 2016, from $3.5 billion in 2015.

Sivlin said one reason for the decline in tourism revenue was a failure to recognise the changes in tourist demographics. She pointed to the high number of souvenir products sold in the country imported from China, Vietnam and Thailand, which were difficult to sell when many tourists came from those same countries.

“We sell souvenir products that are not produced locally, and this is not attractive to international visitors when they know it is from their country,” she said.

Ang Kim Eang, general manager of Great Angkor Tours, said the marginal decline in Vietnamese arrivals had no significant impact on the tourism sector as most Vietnamese visitors arrive by bus and do not spend large sums of money. On the other hand, the higher number of Chinese tourists was good news for Cambodia as they tend to be more prolific spenders.

“Chinese tourism offers great potential for the local tourism sector because they like to spend a lot on entertainment services,” he said.

And with China’s outbound tourists topping 122 million last year, far more than the entire population of Vietnam, government initiatives to attract a larger share to Cambodia are hardly surprising.

“Chinese tourists are one of the main targets for promoting the Cambodian economy,” Eang said.

Source: PhnomPenhPost

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White Boutique (4 Star) Hotel, Sihanoukville, Cambodia

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White Boutique Hotel offers colonial-style accommodation in the Otres-2 Beach district of Sihanoukville. The hotel features an outdoor natural stone swimming pool and a private beach where views of the sunset can be enjoyed. Free WiFi is available throughout the property.

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All rooms are air-conditioned and feature a king-sized bed, while the twin rooms offer 2 single beds. A terrace or balcony are featured in certain rooms. For your comfort, you will find bathrobes and free toiletries.

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From the property, it is 11.2 km to arrive at the city centre of Sihanoukville. It is a 26.9 km drive from the hotel to Ream National Park and 16 km to Sihanoukville Airport. Phnom Penh takes a 4-hour drive and Siem Reap is an hour’s flight away.

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Airport transfers and shuttle services can be arranged upon request at an additional charge.

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The on-site restaurant serves European and Khmer cuisine, and offers homemade lemonade and jams.

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This property is also rated for the best value in Sihanoukville! Guests are getting more for their money when compared to other properties in this city.

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Raffles (5 Star) Hotel Le Royal, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Blending luxury with old-world charm, Raffles Hotel Le Royal features accommodations with private balconies offering pool or garden views. It also boasts a spa and 7 dining options.

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Located in the heart of Phnom Penh, Raffles Hotel is just a 20-minute drive from Phnom Penh International Airport. Royal Palace and the National Museum are one kilometer away.

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Spacious air conditioned rooms at Raffles are equipped with a TV with cable channels and a minibar. Private bathrooms come with a hairdryer. 24-hour room service and Wi-Fi access are available.

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Guests of Raffles Le Royal can take a dip in the outdoor lap pool, relax in the sauna or exercise in the fitness center. Other facilities include a business center and a tour desk.

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Restaurant Le Royal serves modern French and Khmer dishes, while The Conservatory features sandwiches, pastries and drinks. Both venues offer live classical music in the evenings.

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Café Monivong features all-day dining with a buffet and a full dining menu. Le Phnom offers books and Cambodian souvenirs, along with tea-time snacks. Drinks and light snacks are served at Writer’s Bar, Elephant Bar and Poolside Terrace.

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Daun Penh is a great choice for travelers interested in markets, museums and sightseeing.

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This is our guests’ favorite part of Phnom Penh, according to independent reviews.

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Phum Baitang (5 Star) Resort, Siem Reap Cambodia

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True to the meaning of its name “green village”, Phum Baitang offers quiet accommodation nestled amidst private, lush gardens and rice fields. Phum Baitang features a 50 m outdoor infinity pool, a spa and wellness centre and a barbecue area. 

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The property boasts 45 spacious wood-and-stilt villas and is equipped with a children’s playground. Guests can enjoy meals at one of the two in-house restaurant or have a drink at the bar. Free private parking is available on site.

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Phum Baitang is 3 km away from the vibrant Pub Street. The renowned Angkor Wat is 7 km away, while Angkor Night Market is 2.7 km from the property. The nearest airport is Siem Reap – Angkor International Airport, is a 6 km-drive. The property offers complimentary airport transfers and shuttle services.

Phum Baitang 4

Some villas offer a private terrace while others are fitted with a private plunge pool. Villas are fully-furnished with traditional Cambodian decor. The rooms are equipped with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Certain units feature a seating area to relax in after a busy day. 

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Enjoy a cup of coffee while looking out at the pool or garden. Each room comes with a private bathroom fitted with a hot tub. Conveniences include bathrobes, slippers and free toiletries. The hotel offers free WiFi throughout the property.

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Guests can indulge in Spa Temple’s variety of massages and treatments or participate in yoga classes. The 24-hour front desk offers currency exchange, tour arrangements and ticketing services. Bike hire is also available.

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One of the property’s two in-house restaurants, Bay Phsar serves up authentic Cambodia cuisine and encourages guests to choose from an array of locally-sourced ingredients with the help of the chef, while Hang Bay specialises in fusion cuisine. 

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Sokha Hotel, Phnom Penh – Cambodia

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Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel is a luxurious 5-star property offering elegant bedrooms and suites, an outdoor pool and restaurant. Offering a fitness centre and spa, it also features complimentary private parking.

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Sokha Phnom Penh Hotel is 7 km from Royal Palace Phnom Penh, 1.2 km from Riverfront Park and 6 km from Wat Phnom. Phnom Penh International Airport is 13 km away.

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Each air-conditioned room and suite is equipped with an electric kettle, minibar, flat-screen cable TV and safe. Private bathrooms include a bathtub, shower, hairdryer and free toiletries.

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Free WiFi is accessible in the hotel’s common areas. A 24-hour front desk, currency exchange and laundry services are available.

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Battambang Resort, Wat Kor Village, Battambang, Cambodia

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Battambang Resort 2

Battambang Resort is located in Wat Kor Village, 4 km from Psar Nat shopping area, Battambang Resort features bright and modern rooms with free Wi-Fi and views of a garden or lake. Home to an outdoor pool, restaurant and bar the resort is surrounded by rice fields and provides free private parking.

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A 10-minute drive from Battambang Resort is Wat Kor Pagoda. The Hotel is 4 km from Battambang Railway Station and Battambang Town.

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Each air-conditioned room is also equipped with a fan. All rooms have a telephone, hairdryer and fridge. Some rooms include a tea/coffee making facility.

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Battambang Resort has a 24-hour front desk. Tour, ticketing and laundry services are available.

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Daily breakfast is served at the resort’s restaurant, which features Asian and Western dishes. Choose from a selection of wine and local beer at the bar. Room service is also available.

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History on the walls

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North Korean Painting
A North Korean artist adds her self-portrait to the panoramic wall painting.

A North Korean studio recreates the reign of King Jayavarman VII in a gigantic mural

If the series of bas-reliefs on the outer walls of Bayon don’t tell you enough about King Jayavarman VII’s achievements, you might want to visit the Angkor Panorama Museum. Built by North Korea, the museum is a new destination in Siem Reap and its highlight is a 360-degree mural painted by North Korea’s Mansudae Studio.
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Wall Paper Siem Reap
Visitors enjoy the panoramic mural at Angkor Panorama Museum in Siem Reap.
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“The panoramic painting is 122.9 metres by 12.9 metres,” says a young Cambodian guide at Angkor Panorama Museum. “Painted by 63 North Korean artists, it took 16 months to complete and has 45,000 human figures.

The mural starts with horrific scenes from the Cham War between the Khmers and the Vietnamese before moving clockwise to the construction of the famous Bayon Temple and ending with the daily life of Khmers in the 12th Century.

Mansudae Studio is an art studio in Pyongyang, North Korea. Spread over 120,000 square metres and boasting 1,000 of North Korea’s finest artists, it’s one of the largest art production centres in the world.

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Cham War
A graphic scene of war against Cham.
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King Jayavarman VII commands from the elephant back.
King Jayavarman VII commands from the elephant back.
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The panoramic wall painting honours King Jayavarman VII, a devout Buddhist and great warrior who established Angkor Thom as the capital. He crusaded against the Cham and converted his Empire to Buddhism. Bayon Temple boasts a series of bas-reliefs depicting the king’s success through historical events on the battlefield.

Angkor Panorama Museum’s mural is way more patriotic and grandiose. The best scene is the battle against Cham warriors, which shows King Jayavarman on his elephant commanding his men to crush the Cham on the banks of Tonle Sap.

Surrounding the viewing deck of Angkor Panorama Museum is an artificial jungle constructed from fake trees, rocks, huts and sculptures which seamlessly meets the painted wall.

Angkor Panorama Museum also screens 3D movies demystifying how the grandiose temples of Angkor were built. A trip to visit the museum includes a briefing on the ancient Khmer Empire.

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Happy citizens under the reign of King Jayavarman VII.
Happy citizens under the reign of King Jayavarman VII.
Source and pictures: The Nation
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