PHNOM PENH, Nov. 3 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said on Thursday that high vaccination rates and the reopening of borders have helped revive the country's tourism industry.
In a message to the opening of the 5th Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS) Tourism Ministers Meeting and the 6th Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam (CLMV) Tourism Ministers Meeting in Siem Reap province, Hun Sen said vaccines have built herd immunity in Cambodia, which has allowed the country to reopen its borders with confidence since late 2021.
"Thanks to the adoption of the vaccination policy as the key, together with the effectiveness of the implementation of the Roadmap for Cambodia Tourism Promotion and Recovery Plan during and post-COVID-19 2020-2025, Cambodia has received an increasing arrival of international tourists," he said.
Cambodia welcomed 1.24 million international visitors in the first nine months of 2022, up 861 percent compared to the same period last year, official data showed.
During the January-September period this year, neighboring Thailand topped the chart of international tourist arrivals to Cambodia, followed by Vietnam, China, the United States and Indonesia, according to the data.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said the Southeast Asian nation is expected to attract 1.5 million to 2 million international tourists in 2022 and the number is predicted to reach the pre-pandemic level in 2026 or 2027.
In the pre-pandemic era, the country registered 6.6 million international tourists in 2019, generating 4.92 billion U.S. dollars in revenue.
Cambodia has seen great success in controlling the pandemic. The kingdom has reported no new deaths from COVID-19 since April, as 91.1 percent of its 16 million population have been fully vaccinated with two required vaccine doses, the Health Ministry said.
China's Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have been widely used in the kingdom's immunization program. ■