The Cambodia Association of Travel Agents (CATA) and authorities in the Chinese province of Gansu partnered up last week to boost tourism.

CATA last week collaborated with Gansu’s provincial department for tourism promotion to encourage more Cambodians to visit Gansu, a province located in China’s northwest.

Gansu authorities will also promote Cambodia as a tourism destination to people in the province, according to CATA president Chhay Sivlin.

“It is a positive step that both institutions are working together to promote tourism sites in both places,” she said. “It will help us achieve our goal of attracting two million Chinese tourists a year by 2020.

“In addition, collaborations like this help us bring more investment from China,” she added.

Ms Sivlin said that she wishes to see more direct flights connecting Cambodia to new destinations in China.

“There is already a substantial number of flights to China but if we get even more direct flights we can bring even more tourists.”

According to data from the Ministry of Tourism released last week, Cambodia saw a 9.7 percent increase in foreign arrivals during the first quarter of this year, with $1.8 million tourists visiting the Kingdom.

According to the report, China tops the list of tourists by nationality with 683,436 visitors, a quarter-to-quarter hike of 35.1 percent.

China is followed by Vietnam (186,863 tourists), Laos (121,489), Thailand (97,942) and South Korea (95,719).

Last year, Cambodia received 6.2 million tourists, with the tourism sector earning $4.3 billion. This year, Cambodia expects to welcome 6.7 million tourists, and expects to receive seven million by 2020.