Visitors from Vietnam have increased so much this year that Vietnamese people now rank as the second largest group of foreign arrivals in Cambodia, second only to South Koreans, a Ministry of Tourism official said Wednesday.
According to figures to the end of October, Vietnamese visitors increased by 72 percent compared to the same period in 2007, hitting a total of 176,607 people, according to statistics on the Ministry of Tourism Web site.
“[The number of Vietnamese visitors] was number four last year and now it becomes number two this year following Korea,” Tourism Ministry Director of Statistics Kong Sophearak said by telephone Wednesday. Japanese visitors fell from the second spot to number three, according to the ministry figures.
South Koreans still make up the most visitors to Cambodia, but their numbers have decreased by 15.38 percent, to about 234,000, compared to the same 10-month period last year, according to the Web site.
The global financial crisis, a ban on marriages between foreigners and Cambodians and political uncertainty have all contributed to the decrease in South Korean visitors, Kong Sophearak said.
South Koreans made up 13.81 percent of all visitors to Cambodia to the end of October, while Vietnamese people numbered 10.39 percent of the total figure.
Tourist figures to the end of November were not yet available Wednesday.
Trinh Ba Cam, spokesman for the Vietnamese Embassy, said by telephone that increased investment between both countries has boosted Vietnamese visitors.
“The number of [Vietnamese] tourists who came to Cambodia has increased if compared to last year, and there is also an increase of Cambodians who go to Vietnam as tourists,” he said.
“They have money, and they want to see something new,” he said of both Cambodian and Vietnamese travelers.