“Cultural Tourism Year” is an effective mechanism for China to build a close relationship with a target country and then exert its influence. People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, reported that 2019 is the China-Cambodia Cultural Tourism Year. The cultural and tourism authorities of the two countries have organized multiple cultural tourist activities, which has promoted the development of Cambodia’s tourism resources.
In recent years, the number of Chinese tourists to Cambodia has continued to grow. Because of the Cultural Tourism Year programs, there was an increase in the first 10 months of 2019. Chinese tourists to Cambodia exceeded 2.02 million, a year-on-year increase of 24.4 percent, accounting for 38.3 percent of the total foreign tourists to the Southeast Asian country. Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism estimated that the total number of Chinese tourists visiting Cambodia in 2019 will exceed 2.5 million and the figure is expected to reach 3 million in 2020. China has been Cambodia’s largest source of overseas tourists.
The tourism industry also benefits from the convenience of transportation. At present, cities in Cambodia including Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, and Sihanoukville have direct flights with dozens of cities in China. On a weekly basis, there are about 500 flights between China and Cambodia. The Cambodian government is also striving to open alternative tourist routes to China by both land and sea.
In 2019, China and Cambodia organized a series of cultural tourism exchange activities, including “Knowing China · Jiangsu Cultural Week,” the Lancang-Mekong River Cultural Tourism Exchange, the China-Lao-Cambodia Historical Sites Self-Driving Tour, and the 4th China-Cambodia Excellent Film Tour. At the same time, the Cambodian National Museum went to China to participate in the “Exhibition of Treasures from National Museums along the Silk Road” and the “Joint Exhibition of Asian Civilizations.”
Source: People’s Daily, December 29, 2019