Cambodia: Background, Economic Conditions, and Tourism

  • Scott Hipsher


The modern country of Cambodia is generally considered to be the ancestor of the ancient Angkor Empire which was the most technologically advanced and powerful political center in ancient Southeast Asia. After the decline of the Khmer empire and existing as a buffer state between the more powerful Thai and Vietnamese kingdoms, Cambodia became a French colony and after gaining independence, the country was pulled into the regional conflicts centered in Vietnam. In 1975, the country was overrun by the armies of the Marxist-inspired Khmer Rouge which resulted in one of the most horrific genocides in modern times. After being invaded by the armies of Vietnam in 1979, the country came under and remains under the political control of Hun Sen and his Cambodian People’s Party. While the country remains economically underdeveloped and dependent on foreign aid, extreme poverty has been considerably reduced with some foreign investment in the garment, mining, and tourism sectors of the economy. Politically, the country has been criticized for its authoritarian nature and high level of corruption. In recent years, economic and political ties with China have been strengthened. Tourism has become an increasingly important sector in the nation’s economy, with tourists visiting the amazing Angkor Wat complex and the country’s beach resorts in ever-increasing numbers.


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott Hipsher
    • 1
  1. 1.Webster University ThailandBangkokThailand

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