PHNOM PENH, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia and China on Tuesday jointly hosted a gala dinner to promote mutual tourism destinations.
Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong, Tourism Minister Thong Khon, Culture Minister Phoeurng Sackona, and Chinese Minister of Culture and Tourism Luo Shugang as well as Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia Wang Wentian were among 200 guests taking part in the event.
Namhong said Cambodia received 6.2 million foreign tourists in 2018, up 11 percent year-on-year, of whom 1.9 million were Chinese tourists, up 70 percent.
The continued growth of Chinese tourists to Cambodia is thanks to increasing direct flights between the two countries, he said, adding that recently, Air China launched the first-ever direct flights between Beijing to Phnom Penh.
"The rise of Chinese tourists as well as other foreign tourists has importantly contributed to the development of Cambodia in all fields," the deputy prime minister said.
Thong Khon said tourism accounted for 12.7 percent of Cambodias GDP (gross domestic product) and has created direct and indirect jobs for millions of people.
China had been the biggest source of foreign tourists to Cambodia in 2017 and 2018, the minister said. Cambodia is expected to attract 3 million Chinese tourists in 2020, 5 million in 2025 and up to 8 million in 2030.
Luo said cooperation in culture and tourism is playing an important role in strengthening people-to-people bonds towards building a community of shared future.
The event was part of the activities held by the two countries to celebrate the culture and tourism year 2019 between Cambodia and China.
At the gala dinner, video clips featuring attractive tourism destinations, culture, tradition and customs in the two countries were also screened.