MICE tourism trends in Cambodia, a promising and booming destination

Located in the heart of Southeast Asia, Cambodia is famous for its rich history, vibrant culture and magnificent ancient temples. In recent years, the country has made great strides in the development of its tourism industry.
In this article, we focus on MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) tourism in Cambodia in 2024. Cambodia is booming in the field of MICE tourism, positioning itself as a preferred destination for companies and organizations seeking unique, immersive experiences. It is essential to trace the history of MICE tourism in Cambodia, analyze the current state of the market and compare it with its neighbor, Vietnam, before looking at the promising prospects for 2024 and beyond.
Read more info : Cambodia's top MICE tourism sites in 2024

Lightshow on Angkor temples - Photo : Internet

History of MICE tourism in Cambodia

MICE tourism is relatively new to Cambodia, compared with other Asian destinations. After many decades of political turmoil and conflict, the country has enjoyed a period of stability and economic development since the 2000's. The Kingdom of Smiles stands out as an attractive tourist destination, attracting more and more international investors and companies. Business tourism is thus encouraged by the country's growing political stability and the establishment of modern infrastructures, such as international airports and convention centers. The Angkor temples were also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992, raising Cambodia's profile worldwide and positioning it as an attractive destination for corporate events.
  • ♦ Political and economic stability: Cambodia has enjoyed a period of peace and stability since the late 1990s, which has encouraged foreign investment and infrastructure development.
  • ♦ Developing infrastructure: The country has invested heavily in the construction of hotels, convention centers and other facilities of international quality, meeting the growing demand for business tourism. The country has invested heavily in the construction of hotels, convention centers and other facilities of international standing, to meet the growing demand from business tourism.
  • ♦ Cultural and natural riches: Cambodia offers an exceptional environment for MICE events, with its UNESCO World Heritage Angkor temples, magnificent landscapes and vibrant culture.
  • ♦ Attractive prices: Cambodia offers relatively low rates compared to other Southeast Asian countries, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious event organizers.

Current figures for MICE tourism in Cambodia

Unfortunately, it is difficult to obtain the most recent statistics on MICE tourism in Cambodia (2023). The main causes are the slowness of the data: Tourism reports are often late in being published. Official data for the 2022/2023 season are not yet available. In addition, due to the impact of the global pandemic on tourism in 2020-2022, Cambodia's Ministry of Tourism has prioritized recovery data over specific MICE programs for 2023. We therefore remain limited to 2019 data.

2019 figures for MICE tourism in Cambodia

(Based on data from the Cambodian Ministry of Tourism and information gleaned from dedicated articles).
Current statistics on MICE tourism in Cambodia reflect its development and potential. In recent years, the country has hosted an increasing number of conferences, trade fairs and business events. In 2019, more than 100 large-scale business events were held in Cambodia, attracting thousands of national and international participants. MICE visitors are estimated at over 2 million, up 12% on 2018, and revenues are estimated at over $2 billion, up 15% on the previous year.
The average length of stay was 4.5 days, implying that MICE visitors spend more than traditional tourists.
The main source markets were Asia (40%), Europe (30%), North America (20%) and Australia (10%).

A few more details about MICE tourism in Cambodia in 2019

  • ♦ The different types of MICE events in Cambodia in 2019 mainly included conferences and congresses (40%), followed by corporate meetings (30%), promotions (20%) and team-building events (10%).
  • ♦ Main MICE tourist destinations in Cambodia: Phnom Penh (the capital), Siem Reap (home to the temples of Angkor Wat) and Sihanoukville (a seaside town).
  • ♦ Profile of those visiting Cambodia for business reasons: The majority of MICE visitors to Cambodia were professionals between the ages of 35 and 55.
In addition, it is important to note that the Cambodian government has introduced policies that favor the development of the MICE sector. The country's main cities, such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, have been equipped with modern infrastructures such as convention centers, luxury hotels and conference facilities.The MICE tourism sector is booming in Cambodia, and is set to continue growing in the coming years. The development of the sector is supported by the Cambodian government, which is investing in the construction of infrastructure and encouraging the country to become a preferred MICE destination.
You can find more info in our article Cambodia: Asia's new MICE tourism star

Phnom Penh Skyline - Photo : Wikipedia

MICE tourism in Cambodia

Today, MICE tourism is booming in Cambodia. Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, the two main cities, offer a variety of luxury hotels, conference centers and event spaces that can accommodate groups of all sizes. The development of MICE tourism is actively supported by the Cambodian government, which implements favorable policies and organizes major international events.
Cambodia's unique assets make it particularly attractive for MICE tourism, in particular:
  • ♦ Exceptional cultural wealth: The temples of Angkor, one of the world's largest archaeological sites, provide an exceptional setting for unforgettable events.
  • ♦ Cambodia offers a diversity of natural landscapes, from tropical beaches to verdant mountains and lush jungle, providing exceptional opportunities for team-building activities and post-congress excursions.
  • ♦ Cambodia offers exceptional value for money for MICE events, compared to other Asian destinations.
  • ♦ Friendly people: The Cambodian people are renowned for their hospitality and warmth, fostering a friendly atmosphere for event participants.

Comparing with Vietnam

Cambodia's neighbor Vietnam is also a fast-growing MICE destination. The two countries share certain assets, such as a rich cultural heritage and spectacular natural landscapes. However, Cambodia's particularity lies in its more affordable travel prices and quieter atmosphere. In addition, Cambodia boasts an exceptional concentration of world-renowned historical sites, such as the Angkor temples, making it particularly attractive for international MICE events. Importantly, the French language is still widely spoken in Cambodia (perhaps more so than in Vietnam), which can simplify communication for French-speaking event organizers and participants.

Delicious Cuisine of Cambodia - Photo : Internet

2024-2025 outlook for MICE tourism in Cambodia

The outlook for MICE tourism in Cambodia over the period 2024-2025 is extremely promising.
  • • Sustained economic growth: Cambodia is experiencing sustained economic growth, attracting more and more foreign investors. which is attracting more and more foreign investors. Business tourism is encouraged by this growth, strengthening the country's appeal as a MICE destination.
  • Improving infrastructure: The Cambodian government is continuing to invest in infrastructure development, building new convention centers and upgrading existing facilities. This consolidates the country's ability to host major international events.
  • International promotion: Cambodia is stepping up its global promotion initiatives, setting up trade shows, exhibitions and networking events to attract companies and event organizers. Increased visibility encourages growth in MICE tourism.
  • Cultural diversity and tourist attractions: Cambodia offers exceptional cultural diversity and tourist attractions, in addition to professional activities. These include the temples of Angkor, the beaches of Sihanoukville and the natural beauty of the Elephant Mountains. MICE events attract many participants thanks to this combination of business and leisure.
It is important to note that the Cambodian government has assigned national priority to MICE tourism and is actively implementing measures to support its development. These include the implementation of new convention infrastructures, the establishment of encouraging policies for event organizers and the promotion of Cambodia as a MICE destination in international markets.
The growth of MICE tourism in Cambodia is set to continue in the coming years, supported by a number of factors:
  • More and more direct flights to Cambodia: The number of direct flights to the country is steadily increasing, making it easier for business travellers to reach the country.
  • Infrastructure projects: New hotels, convention centers and other MICE facilities are being built throughout the country.
  • International events: In the coming years, Cambodia will host several major international events, such as the Southeast Asian Games in 2025, which should boost MICE tourism.


Phnom Penh proposes some luxury hotel - Photo : Internet


Trends to keep an eye on

✓ Increased length of stay: In the past, tourists stayed in Cambodia for short periods, mainly to explore the Angkor temples in Siem Reap. However, tourists are now looking for more immersive experiences. This trend can be exploited by MICE event organizers by offering cultural activities, excursions and local discoveries to extend the length of the stay.
Diversifying locations: In addition to Siem Reap, Cambodia offers other interesting destinations such as Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville and Battambang. MICE event managers have the opportunity to explore these locations to vary the possibilities for meetings and exhibitions.
Modern infrastructure: Cambodia is devoting resources to improving its modern infrastructure to host MICE events. Convention centers, luxury hotels and state-of-the-art facilities are being built.
Promoting sustainable tourism: The Kingdom of Cambodia places great importance on promoting sustainable and responsible tourism. MICE event managers have the opportunity to work with local, environmentally-friendly suppliers and support community projects.
International partnerships: International partnerships are a priority for the Cambodian government to attract more MICE events. The industry can be stimulated by partnerships with international companies and organizations.

To conclude

MICE tourism in Cambodia is growing by leaps and bounds, and offers huge potential for development over the next few years. This Kingdom at the end of the world is poised to become a must-see MICE destination in Southeast Asia, thanks to its unique assets, affordable travel prices and government support. With its growing economy, modern infrastructure and increasing promotion, Cambodia is positioning itself as an attractive MICE destination in Southeast Asia. Event organizers and participants have the opportunity to enjoy an exceptional experience combining business and cultural discovery in this captivating country. However, to sustain this growth over the long term, it is essential to continue monitoring industry trends and investing in infrastructure development.

Sources :
Cambodian Ministry of Tourism https://www.tourismcambodia.com/
CambodgeMag : Tourisme au Cambodge : quel sera le prochain chapitre ? (cambodgemag.com)
World Dara : Développement et importance du tourisme pour le Cambodge (donneesmondiales.com)
Asian Development Bank: https://www.adb.org/

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