Chinese tourists spurn Cambodia and Myanmar due to fears of human trafficking

The two Southeast Asian nations have ramped up efforts to lure Chinese tourists, but safety concerns remain.

In an effort to revive tourism in the post-pandemic world, Cambodia and Myanmar — two Southeast Asian countries with strong diplomatic ties to China — have introduced separate initiatives targeting Chinese travelers. However, with their reputation plagued by crime and danger, winning back Chinese tourists is likely to be an uphill battle.

On August 4, Cambodia’s Ministry of Tourism announced the launch of “China Ready,” a nationwide program that aims to improve Chinese-language services across seven business categories related to tourism, including hotel, restaurant, travel guidance, resort, and souvenir shop. The end goal, according to the Cambodian government, is to ensure that “customer-facing workers can speak Mandarin” and “provide standardized services to Chinese travelers.”

The initiative is part of a broader tourism-boosting plan that’s built on a deal between China and Cambodia, who decided to work together earlier this year to bring more Chinese tourists to their neighboring country, through measures such as increasing direct flights between the two, allowing payments in Chinese renminbi in the tourism sector, and organizing special events in celebration of the 65th anniversary of Cambodia-China diplomatic relations.

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