Cambodia Courts the Chinese

Cambodia’s Tourism Ministry has unveiled a policy to encourage the sector to accept renminbi, or the yuan, as part of a drive to attract tourists from China, a local newspaper reported on Wednesday.

“This decision was made last month when the ‘China Ready’ white paper was released,” Tith Chantha, a secretary of state at the ministry, was quoted as saying by the Khmer Daily.

“There will be no difficulty accepting Chinese yuan, it’s the same as accepting the US dollar,” he said. “Accepting renminbi could attract more Chinese tourists. It is also helpful for local enterprises, because they don’t need to exchange currency anymore,” he added.

If renminbi can be circulated in Cambodia, it will promote the development of Cambodia’s tourism sector, Tith Chantha said.

The Ministry of Tourism earlier released a white paper titled “China Ready for Cambodia Tourism” outlining a five-year strategy for attracting Chinese tourists to the country with the aim of getting 2 million of them to visit the country per year by 2020.

China is the second-largest source of tourists to the country after Vietnam, according to a Cambodian tourism data.

In the first four months of this year, Cambodia recorded about 275,000 Chinese tourist arrivals, up by 13.6 percent compared to the same period last year. Last year, 694,712 tourists from China visited the kingdom and this was a 24 percent increase from 2014.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) earlier predicted that China will become the largest outbound tourism market by 2020, with the number of tourists traveling abroad hitting 200 million.