PHNOM PENH, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- About 841,340 Chinese tourists had visited Cambodia in the first nine months of 2017, up 45.7 percent compared with the same period last year, a Tourism Ministry report showed on Wednesday.
Chinese holidaymakers accounted for 21.5 percent of the international tourists visiting Cambodia during the January-September period this year, the report said, adding that China topped the chart among the top 10 arrivals to Cambodia, followed by Vietnam and Laos.
According to the report, a total of 3.9 million international tourists traveled to Cambodia during the first nine months of this year, up 11.5 percent compared with the same period last year.
Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon has attributed the remarkable rise in Chinese tourists to the country to close ties, Cambodia's attractive tourism sites and direct flights between the two countries.
"Following the forecast, in 2017, Cambodia will receive approximately 1 million Chinese tourists and increase up to at least 2 million in 2020," he said during a "China Ready" tourism forum in Phnom Penh last week.
The minister said currently 12 Chinese airlines are operating 126 direct flights each week to Cambodia.
Cambodia has three world heritage sites, namely Angkor archaeological park, Preah Vihear Temple, and Sambor Prei Kuk archaeological site.
Besides, it has a pristine coastline stretching in the length of 450 km in four southwestern provinces of Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep.
Tourism is one of the four sectors supporting the Cambodian economy. The Southeast Asian nation received 5 million foreign tourists, including 830,000 Chinese, in 2016, earning a gross revenue of 3.4 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Tourism Ministry.