PHNOM PENH, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia had received 1.24 million foreign visitors during the first nine months of 2020, down 74 percent from 4.81 million over the same period of last year, said the latest report released by the Ministry of Tourism on Thursday.
China, Thailand and Vietnam were the biggest sources of foreign travelers to the kingdom during the January-September period this year, the report said.
Some 302,826 Chinese, 189,442 Thais and 180,761 Vietnamese visited the country during the first nine months of the year, down 84 percent, 34 percent and 72 percent respectively compared to the same period last year.
In September alone, Cambodia attracted only 21,137 foreign visitors, a 95.3 percent drop from 453,909 over the same month last year, the report said.
The sharp decline was due to the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the Southeast Asian nation to impose entry restrictions on all foreign travelers since March.
Ministry of Tourism's secretary of state and spokesman Top Sopheak predicted that international visitors to the kingdom will start to rebound gradually from the first quarter of 2021 if COVID-19 vaccines are available.
"I believe that China will remain the largest source of tourists to Cambodia during the post-COVID-19," he told Xinhua.
Tourism is one of the four pillars supporting Cambodia's economy, and the country received 6.6 million international visitors in 2019, earning a gross revenue of 4.9 billion U.S. dollars.