PHNOM PENH, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Some 635,000 Chinese tourists had visited Cambodia in the first seven months of 2017, up 42.7 percent compared with the same period last year, according to Tourism Ministry statistics on Monday.
Chinese holidaymakers accounted for 20.4 percent of the foreign tourists visiting Cambodia during the January-July period this year, the statistics said, adding that China topped the chart among the top 10 arrivals to the kingdom, followed by Vietnam and Laos.
The statistics showed that a total of 3.1 million international tourists traveled to Cambodia in the first seven months of this year, up 12.8 percent compared with the same period last year.
Kong Sopheareak, director of the Tourism Ministry's statistics and planning department, said niceties between Cambodia and China, Cambodia's attractive tourism sites and direct flights between the two countries were the major factors attracting more and more Chinese tourists and business people to Cambodia.
"It is expected that Chinese tourists to Cambodia will hit 1 million in 2017," he said.
The Southeast Asian nation is famous for the Angkor world heritage site in northwestern Siem Reap province.
Last year, the country launched a "China Ready" strategy with the aim of attracting 2 million Chinese tourists annually to Cambodia by 2020.
The strategy listed steps to be taken by tourism authorities to facilitate visits by Chinese tourists, such as providing Chinese signage and documents for visa processing, encouraging local use of the Chinese currency and the Chinese language, and ensuring that food and accommodation facilities are suited to Chinese tastes.
Tourism is one of the four pillars supporting the Cambodian economy. The country received 5 million foreign tourists including 830,000 Chinese in 2016, earning gross revenue of 3.4 billion U.S. dollars, according to the Tourism Ministry.