PHNOM PENH, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's tourism earned gross revenues of 4.35 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, up 19.8 percent from 3.63 billion dollars in a year earlier, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said here on Monday.
"We attracted more than 6.2 million foreign tourists in 2018, up 10.7 percent, generating total revenue of 4,356 million U.S. dollars for the economy," he said in a speech during the 7th National Clean City Day.
China is the largest source of foreign tourists to Cambodia last year, with nearly 2 million Chinese traveling to the kingdom, according to the Cambodian ministry of tourism.
Thong Khon said the Southeast Asian nation is expected to welcome 6.8 million foreign tourists in 2019 and 7.5 million in 2020, with estimated revenue of 5 billion dollars and creations of nearly 1 million jobs.
He continued to say that for a long-term vision, the kingdom is projected to receive up to 15 million international tourists in 2030, bringing estimated revenue of 10 billion dollars and creating nearly 2 million job opportunities.
Speaking at the event, Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said tourism has importantly contributed to economic growth, job creations and poverty reduction.
He said last year, the economy grew by 7.5 percent and poverty rate had declined to 10 percent.
"Now, Cambodia has become a popular tourism destination for the world and the government sees tourism as green gold," the prime minister said, urging the people to keep cities clean so as to attract more international tourists.
Tourism is one of the four sectors supporting the economy. Cambodia is famous for three world heritage sites, namely the Angkor archeological park in northwestern Siem Reap province, the Preah Vihear temple in northwestern Preah Vihear province, and the Sambor Prei Kuk archeological site in central Kampong Thom province.
Besides, the kingdom has a beautiful coastline stretching 440 km over four southwestern provinces of Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kep and Koh Kong.