Cambodia tourism on high with Tripadvisor honour for Phnom Penh

Cambodia’s tourism industry is currently basking in the honour that ranked capital Phnom Penh in the ninth place of most popular destinations in the world. In a survey earlier last week, the US-based travel portal Tripadvisor conducted a survey of the top 25 tourist destinations for 2024.

Talking to Khmer Times, Thourn Sinan, Chairman, Pacific Asia Travel Association Cambodia Chapter, said, “Phnom Penh being ranked 9th among the most popular destinations by TripAdvisor is a significant achievement for the city and Cambodia.” This ranking reflects the growing interest in Phnom Penh as a travel destination and highlights the city’s cultural, historical, and natural attractions, he added.

Begging to differ with the prestigious ranking, Steve Lidgey, General Manager, Travel Asia a la carte said, “I think it can do better than number 9. It needs an attractive night market to compete with equivalent ones all over Thailand. The current one is unappealing and should be bulldozed. Also, the river needs to be utilised more for tourism. With a little work Phnom Penh can be number one!”

“TripAdvisor is the most widely relied upon source of information for travellers deciding where to go, where to stay or eat, what to do,” said Craig Dodge, Director of Sales and Marketing of Phare Circus. Destinations appearing on TripAdvisor “Best of” lists will certainly benefit. Being a top “trending destination” can put Phnom Penh in front of travellers who may not have been aware of what made it special, he added.

The recognition from TripAdvisor can bring increased tourism, which can have positive economic effects for the city and the country as a whole, continued Sinan. It can also encourage investment in tourism infrastructure and services, ultimately benefiting the local economy and residents.

“Phnom Penh is a city seeing huge change. Tourists can visit local markets and then have an iced latte in a nice coffee shop afterwards. So a vibrant mix of East meets West,” added Lidgey.

However, striking a cautionary note, Sinan pointed out that “It’s important for local authorities and stakeholders to carefully manage the tourism growth to ensure that it brings lasting benefits to the community while preserving the city’s unique character.”

Overall, being ranked 9th among the most popular destinations by TripAdvisor can be seen as a positive development for Phnom Penh, but it also comes with the responsibility to manage tourism growth in a sustainable and inclusive manner, he added.

The survey on January 9 solicited votes for the most preferred tourist destination in the last 12-month period. Among the winning names from Southeast Asia, were four destinations apart from Cambodia’s capital. Sapa City in Vietnam bagged the number five ranking, with Pattaya in Thailand following closely in seventh and Malaysia and Indonesia’s Kuala Lumpur and Bandung taking the 10th and 15th places respectively.

Tripadvisor emphasised the affordability of hotel rooms and restaurants for tourists in Phnom Penh enhancing its appeal. It also made mention of cultural and historical attractions in the city.

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