PHNOM PENH, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's Tourism Ministry has started urging businesses and tour operators to accept Chinese yuan notes as part of a drive to attract tourists from China, a local newspaper reported on Saturday.
The ministry released a new "China Ready" strategy in late May with the aim of attracting 2 million Chinese tourists annually to Cambodia by 2020. According to a copy of the strategy, the ministry will "encourage" businesses that cater to tourists to "make it easy to use" Chinese yuan for payment.
"We have been advising tourism establishments like restaurants, accommodations, entertainment venues and exchange shops to facilitate payments in yuan in order to make it easy for Chinese tourists to spend in our country," Hor Sarun, a Tourism Ministry secretary of state, was quoted as saying by the Cambodia Daily.
Renaud Fichet, the co-owner of Abacus Garden Restaurant and Bar, a French restaurant in northwestern Siem Reap City, said he was prepared to give the yuan initiative a go if it would attract more Chinese diners.
"Why not, I think," he was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "It doesn't matter which currency you will pay as long as they come to the place."
However, Khemmara Niza, manager of Sentosa Silk Shop at the heart of the riverside tourist area in Phnom Penh, said staff would have no idea whether they were receiving legitimate currency if they allowed customers to pay in yuan.
"We don't really know about yuan money -- is it the real one or is it the fake one? We already have problems with fake U.S. dollars and we can't fix it," she said.
China is the second largest source of tourists to Cambodia after Vietnam. According to a Cambodian tourism data, some 700,000 tourists from China visited Cambodia in 2015, up 24 percent year-on-year.