The Positive and Negative Effect of Tourism in Cambodia

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Table of Contents

  • Positive Effect of Tourism in Cambodia
  • Negative Effect of Tourism in Cambodia
  • Conclusion

Cambodia is a land of potentials, bouncing back from being colonized by the French in 1884 and from years of dejection from three civil wars in 1970, 1975 and a genocide period after 1975. The Land of Wonder has shown tremendous growth in many industries, particularly with its tourism industry, according to a research done by Emma Ericson and Annette Ronning for Karlstad university, the number of visitors to Cambodia only increased after 1995, two years of after its full independence in 1993, now the industry is proving to be “a proclaimed World’s best tourist destination”. However where there’s light, there is darkness and even with many benefits from tourism. Cambodia is also facing many negative effects.

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Positive Effect of Tourism in Cambodia

In recent years Cambodia’s tourism industry has taken a turn for the better after the announcement of independence in 1993, the country has undergone massive developments and is continuing to do so. The government has created an eight year plan from 2012-2020, based on potentials such as Cultural and Natural resources of the land to better develop the industry. As of today Cambodia is one of the world’s most popular in Cultural tourism and ecotourism as it received the world’s best tourist destination award in 2016. Many improvements have also been made to the many infrastructures especially to its international airport as a mean to welcome the estimated 2 million visitors. As time evolve so does the Cambodia. Almost every year Cambodia welcomes a new sky scrapper with its tallest ‘The Vattanac capital tower’ which was completed in 2014. Cambodia is also well aware of the rise of this industry, which is why in 2012, the royal government of Cambodia created an 8 year plan to support and develop its tourism services. The plan will revolve around the Cultural tourism and the ecotourism that is the soul of the industry here in Cambodia, which will uphold the foundation for the long-term development of a new tourist destination. Another factor that will positively affect Cambodia is that tourism will create around 800,000 jobs which predicted by the RGC for the year 2020 and will also “Accelerate its gross domestic product (GDP)”. They also hope that this new route they are taking will create a new history, one that is better than the bitter past the country went through. This prediction will highly be true, looking at the record shown by the World Travel and Tourism Council; Cambodia’s tourism provided a 3.1% growth in GDP and supported 6 million jobs in the field in 2016.

Negative Effect of Tourism in Cambodia

One issue Cambodia is facing is the misbehaviors of tourist, especially when it comes to religious sites, the people can get very offended. The archeological park of Angkor Wat have had many nudity-related accidents and thus increased the restrictions placed on visitors at the site. “It’s an offense to the culture of others regardless of religion” said Kerya Chau Sun, a member of the Apsara police. Another effect that is troubling Cambodia is the bias decisions made by the government. With its effort to develop the industry the government had made a decision to create a plan to better suit the needs of the country that brings in the most visitors, China with its Chinese-ready plan. The Chinese-ready plan, is very evident in Sihanouk Ville, one of the cities in Cambodia that is now being taken over by Chinese. Worries flood in the communities of locals owned businesses on how the new developments in their area will affect them. Beaches that are usually flood with tourist now deserted, Casinos where Cambodian themselves are not welcomed and even shop that lines the streets displaying Chinese and not Khmer.


The rise of tourism is beneficial to Cambodia include the completion of its finest airport to date, the construction of new infrastructures and skyscrapers, contribution to the growth of its GDP and supplying millions of jobs in the field. However with millions of visitors each year clash of culture is bound to occur, first with the misbehaving tourists causing bans to be placed upon religious site. Moreover Cambodians are worried about the investments made by foreign visitors to have major consequences to the local economy, especially in one of the biggest tourist attraction in the country Sihanouk Ville. Taking the situation into consideration having a city that is being taken over by another culture and taking the local economy away from locals is very problematic indeed and has to be taken care of right away.

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