(Yicai Global) Feb. 14 -- Cambodia plans a number of measures to welcome back Chinese tourists this year, including allowing them to make payments in Chinese yuan.
The Southeast Asian country will facilitate and encourage the use of the redback in electronic, digital, and cash form, The Cambodia China Times reported, citing Tourism Minister Thong Khon as saying last week. The return of tourists from China will greatly benefit the Cambodian and global economies, he added.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was also in China recently to put his name to a joint statement by the two nations on Feb. 11 that said the Cambodia warmly welcomes Chinese tourists, Xinhua News Agency reported.
China resumed overseas group tours, starting with 20 countries, including Cambodia, on Feb. 6. the following day, an Air China flight with 125 passengers landed at Phnom Penh International Airport on Feb. 7.
Cambodia hopes to attract between 800,000 and 1 million Chinese visitors this year.
Some 400,000 overseas tourists visited the country last month, including 25,000 Chinese, according to tourism ministry data. Cambodia welcomed 6.6 million international tourists in 2019, accounting for 12.1 percent of its gross domestic product.
Flights between China and Cambodia are gradually resuming, with direct routes from Kunming and Shanghai to the resort city of Siem Reap scheduled to start on Feb. 16. Direct flights between the two Asian countries have rebounded 30 percent to 40 percent from 2019's level with Chinese visitors likely to increase from next month, according to Cambodia's tourism ministry.
The joint statement also said the countries will strengthen customs inspection and quarantine cooperation and promote the access of high-quality Cambodian agricultural products into China. Negotiations on importing Cambodian produce, including coconuts, durians, jackfruit, and pineapple, into China are underway.
Cambodian corn, longan, and basa fish landed on the Chinese market after the China-Cambodia Free Trade Agreement came into force in January last year.
Trade between the two countries jumped 17.5 percent to a record of more than USD16 billion last year from the year before, a Chinese commerce ministry official said on Feb. 9. China was Cambodia's largest trade partner for the 11th year in a row in 2022.
Editor: Martin Kadiev