By Rann Reuy
The number of tour operators registered with Ministry of Tourism increased by more than 10 per cent in the first half of this year compared to last year due to an upswing in the number of tourists visiting the Kingdom, insiders say.
Figures from the tourism ministry showed newly registrated tour companies reached 568 companies in the first six months while the figures for last year were only 516 tour companies, for the same period.
Among those companies last year, 403 were head offices and 113 branches in the provinces. Head offices increased to 459, but the brances decreased by 4 in the first six months of 2012.
Prak Chandara, director of the Tourism Industry Department of the Ministry of Tourism, said the increase in the number of tour companies resulted from an increase in the number of tourists visiting Cambodia.
“Registration increased because they are seeing more tourists come through,” he said.
Among those companies, 205 companies, which are members of Cambodian Association of Travel Agents (CATA), have 76 branches in provinces, mostly in Siem Reap province.
Ang Kim Eang, president of CATA, agreed with Prak Chandara and said some newly established companies were preparing themselves for the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.
“When the ASEAN Economic Community comes into force in 2015, there would be an increase in the easy circulation of goods, but tourists from the region as well”, he said.
“This is good preparation for Khmer tour operators,” he said, adding: “I think that some companies will be ready to open branches in other countries by 2015.”
Phoan Sopheak, tour operator at Angkor Seventh Travel company in Phnom Penh, said he saw the numbers of tourists increase considerably in recent months, particularly in Siem Reap where there were crowds of tourists, even thoughout the rainy season.
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