PHNOM PENH, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Some 887,039 Chinese tourists visited Cambodia in the first four months of 2019, up 37 percent compared to the same period last year, said a Tourism Ministry's report released on Thursday.
China is still the largest source of foreign tourists to the Southeast Asian country, accounting for 36.7 percent of the total foreign arrivals to the kingdom during the January-April period this year, the data said.
A total of 2.41 million foreigners had traveled to Cambodia during the first four months of this year, up 11 percent over the same period last year, it said.
Speaking at a Cambodia-China culture and tourism event in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon said China is a huge market for Cambodia's tourism industry.
"We hope to attract about 2.6 million Chinese tourists in 2019, 3 million in 2020, 5 million in 2025 and up to 8 million in 2060 ," he said.
Tourism is one of four sectors supporting Cambodia's economy.
Last year, the country received 6.2 million foreign tourists including 2 million Chinese, earning gross revenue of 4.35 billion U.S. dollars, Thong Khon said, adding that tourism contributed 12.7 percent to the country's GDP (gross domestic product) last year.
Cambodian Tourism Ministry's Under Secretary of State So Visothy said currently, 25 airlines have been operating 636 direct flights per week between Cambodian cities and Chinese cities.
Cambodia is famous for three world heritage sites, namely the Angkor archeological park, the Preah Vihear temple, and the Sambor Prei Kuk archeological site.
Besides, it has a pristine coastline stretching 460 km in four southwestern provinces of Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep.