Cambodia or Kampuchea, officially known as the Kingdom of Cambodia is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometres in area and population of over 15 million. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economic, and cultural centre of Cambodia.
Cambodia gained independence in 1953. The Vietnam War extended into the country with the US bombing of Cambodia from 1969 until 1973. Following the Cambodian coup of 1970, the deposed king gave his support to his former enemies, the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge emerged as a major power, taking Phnom Penh in 1975 and later carrying out the Cambodian Genocide from 1975 until 1979, when they were ousted by Vietnam and the Vietnamese-backed People’s Republic of Kampuchea in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War (1979–91). Following the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, Cambodia was governed briefly by a United Nations mission (1992–93). The UN withdrew after holding elections in which around 90 percent of the registered voters cast ballots. The 1997 coup placed power solely in the hands of Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People’s Party, who remain in power as of 2017.
In 2016 Cambodia’s per capita income is $3,735 in PPP and $1,227 in nominal per capita. Cambodia graduated from the status of a Least Developed Country to a Lower Middle Income country in the same year 2016. The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) reintroduced more than 750 traditional rice varieties to Cambodia from its rice seed bank in the Philippines. These varieties had been collected in the 1960s.
Based on the Economist, IMF: Annual average GDP growth for the period 2001–2010 was 7.7% making it one of the world’s top ten countries with the highest annual average GDP growth. Tourism was Cambodia’s fastest growing industry, with arrivals increasing from 219,000 in 1997 to over 2 million in 2007.
Cambodia has clearly established itself as an attractive destination for cultural and natural tourism. Cambodian Prime Minister projected that there would be seven million tourist arrivals by 2020, which should earn the country $5.5 billion and create 800,000 jobs. Despite its beaches and Angkor temples, Cambodia long had a reputation for war, genocide and violent political instability. But it has become a favorite destination with backpackers and budget travelers over the past decade or so and has more recently begun to establish itself as a luxury destination.