Monday, 17 December 2012

Welcome to Cambodia: Cambodia Tourism News: Preah Vihear Temple sees dramatic rise in tourists

Preah Vihear Temple sees dramatic rise in tourists

Foreign tourist numbers to Preah Vihear Temple increased by 147 per cent over the first 11 months of the year, while local visitor numbers increased by 84 per cent.

Between January and November, a total of 6,396 foreign tourists visited the temple area, a 147.60 per cent increase over the same period last year, which only saw 2,582 visitors.

There were 86,953 local visitors this year, an increase of 84 per cent compared to last year, when the area welcomed only 47,163 visitors, according to Kong Vibol, a director of the Tourism Department in Preah Vihear province.

“Causes for the increase in visitor numbers are a result of good security along the border area making it easier to visit,” Vibol said.

“Another factor is that the national roads from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh have improved,” he said.

According to Vibol, the Pchum Ben holiday period attracted a lot of visitors because the area was not affected by flooding as it was in 2011.

In mid-August, officials from Preah Vihear province met with their counterparts from Thailand’s Ubon province to discuss opening a new border.

However, no progress has been made on the issue yet, according to previous reports by the Post.

“The gateway does not only serve economic and commercial purposes, but also serves the tourism sector,” Vibol said, adding: “We know Preah Vihear Temple is an attractive site and there are good link roads from Siem Reap and from Phnom Penh. There will be more visitors in 2013.”

Along with the increased tourist numbers to the region, some local residents have started to build new accommodation, increasing options for staying in Preah Vihear and Saem towns.

Tuy Chimsreoun, front office manager of Preah Vihear Boutique Hotel at Saem village in Choum Ksann district in Preah Vihear province, said the hotel, comprising 30 rooms, will begin operating in January next year.

“We see some newly finished guesthouses were full for every big holiday.”

“We see about 400 to 500 foreign visitors to Preah Vihear Temple along with about 2,000 Khmer visitors each month,” he said.

Source: Phnompenhpost/14-Dec-2012

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Sunday, 9 December 2012

Tourism Facing Multiple Strains: Official

Cambodia’s second-largest earner of foreign income, tourism, is starting to feel the effects of a prolonged economic downturn and the unstable political situation in Thailand, tourism experts said Thursday.

The number of foreign visitors was down slightly for the first quarter of 2009, dropping 2.23 percent compared to the same period in 2008, but, officials said, those visitors who do come are spending less money.

“This decline has nothing to do with Cambodia’s performance,” said Ang Kim Eang, president of Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, as a guest on “Hello VOA.”

The industry is facing a swath of problems, from the global downturn, a wobbly government in Bangkok, the spread of the H1N1 virus, and even oil price hikes, he said.

Some have blamed Cambodia’s lack of a national airline for the decline, he said, and are hoping for a new tourism law and an open-sky policy, as well visas on arrival and an expansion of attractions.

Even with the slight decline, the number of tourists from the region has risen. Visitors from the Philippines, Laos Malaysia and Vietnam have boosted business for small hotels, he said.

“Therefore, big and luxurious hotels have faced some difficulties in losing their customers...as tourists now spend less money,” Ang Kim Eang said.

To stay competitive in the downturn and to keep numbers up, tourism professionals should target specific countries, said Ho Vandy, co-chairman of the Tourism Working Group, who was also a guest on Thursday’s show.

“What we have advised for the government is related to the promotion of targeting specific tourist groups, Japan or Korea, for instance”

Source: VOA/July-2009

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Angkor Wat site in danger: Deputy PM

In a rare acknowledgement of deforestation concerns, Deputy Prime Minister Sok An, chairman of the National Commission for UNESCO, said the widespread clearing of forests around Angkor Wat was harming views of the historic temple complex.

Sok An made the remarks in Siem Reap at a Plenary Session of the International Co-ordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor (ICC-Angkor) on Wednesday, and stressed that the forest, known as Phnom Kulen, was degraded and needed immediate attention.

“I’ve known that Phnom Kulen is endangered now, thus this plateau region needs urgent protection,” he said, calling for a halt to all forest clearing which “affects our view of our national park”.

Sok An also called on Siem Reap provincial governor Sou Phirin to co-operate with the APSARA Authority and UNESCO to protect the national park.

Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said that the Phnom Kulen issue was on the government’s radar.

“In the meeting, we’re paying attention to Phnom Kulen,” he said. “It’s becoming an endangered place.”

According to Siphan, talks are ongoing about problems posed by both flooding and groundwater fluctuations, which are thought to be causing some temples to sink, which in turn causes structural damage.

“We are still discussing surface water, and we have to make sure that there’s no flooding in the temples and Siem Reap city,” he said.

In September the Italian government donated $200,000 to repair an embankment and stairway in the temple’s moat that were damaged by floods.

Angkor marks its 20th year on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites this year, but, due to the national mourning for King Father Norodom Sihanouk, who played a key role in Angkor’s addition to the list, anniversary celebrations will be postponed until the World Heritage Committee meeting in June.

Source: Phnompenhpost/7-December-2012

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