In the first nine months of this year, Cambodian travelers took 176,956 trips abroad and are expected to rack up 240,000 foreign visits by the end of the year, according to the first Tourism Ministry figures on the number of Cambodians traveling internationally.
For Tourism Minister Lay Prohas, the data is a sign that the living standards of Cambodians are improving.
“Our people are living in better conditions,” he said Monday. “When they have more money, they like to travel.”
He said that with the arrival of low-cost airlines, better roads to Vietnam and Thailand and more affordable bus transportation, he expects the number of Cambodian tourists to continue growing.
Last year, according to the ministry’s department of statistics and planning, Cambodians took 239,349 foreign trips.
Seventy-seven percent of all trips were taken to Asean countries last year, with Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia the top destinations.
The data, however, does not reveal how many of the journeys were undertaken by repeat travelers.
Lay Prohas said that visa policies are dictating to a large degree where Cambodians end up traveling.
The Philippines and Malaysia do not require Cambodians to obtain visas, but Western countries have lengthy and expensive visa requirements, he said.
“Cambodians also love to travel to EU countries and the USA, but the visa policy remains difficult,” Lay Prohas said.
“In the coming years, Asean will adopt better visa policies and