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Officials Seek 50,000 Kuwaiti Tourists

Cambodia expects an increase of tourist arrivals from the Middle East following a delegation led by Prime Minister Hun Sen to Kuwait and the signing of an agreement between the two countries to open up flights and offer free visas for citizens of each.

“The population of Kuwait is 2.5 million, and about a million people go outside of the country for tourism,” Tourism Minister Thong Korn told reporters Friday.

Hun Sen, who left for Kuwait Tuesday, is expected to seek economic and agricultural agreements, as well as tourism, as he visits the Middle Eastern country for the first time.

After the agreement, the Thong Korn will send a Cambodian delegation to Kuwait to set up a working group and begin an advertising campaign for Cambodian tourism.

“I expect in 2009 we can get 50,000 people from Kuwait,” he said. “And also next month we hope to have an open sky policy with Kuwait and direct flights from Kuwait to Cambodia.”

Cambodia had more than 2 million visitors in 2008, from South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, the US, China, Thailand, France, England, Australia and Taiwan, an increase of 5 percent from the year before. Each person is estimated to spend $700 per visit, according the Ministry of Tourism.

Only around 700 people visited Cambodia from the Middle East in 2008.