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A giant crab statue sits in the water along the coast
A giant crab statue sits in the water along the coast, welcoming visitors to the old resort town of Kep in southern Cambodia. AIM VALINDA

Cambodia’s coastal visits up

The number of foreign and local tourists who spent time in Cambodia’s coastal destinations increased in 2013, according to provincial officials in Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kep and Koh Kong provinces.

“Visitors come here for the beach and seafood,” said Seng Kha, director of tourism in Preah Sihanouk.

The total number of tourists travelling to the area in 2013 reached more than one million, according to Kha.

Foreign visits swelled to 302,325, a 42 per cent rise compared with the same period in 2012.

Domestic tourist figures rose 12 per cent to 731,604.

Chinese tourists ranked number one, followed by Russians and Vietnamese.

Bun Beang, the director of tourism in Koh Kong, said foreign tourism has increasing noticeably.

Thai tourists frequent the beaches and resorts, while locals head to eco-tourism destinations like Ta Tai, Chi Phat and Trapang Rong.

According to Bun Beang, foreign visitors in Koh Kong province reached 47,446, a 514 per cent rise of foreign visitors in comparison to the number in 2012.

The total number of local visitors shot up to 96,080, a 16 per cent rise from a year earlier.

Kampot and Kep also saw a rise in tourism.

Mok Sekano, deputy chief of tourism in Kampot, said the casino on Bokor mountain is becoming a main attraction for the province.

“Vietnamese visitors rank number one,” he said.

Famous for its crab market, Kep province is a 25-kilometre drive from Kampot.

Som Chenda, a provincial tourism official, said Kep is riding the coastal tourism wave.

“More hotels and restaurants are being built. It’s a reflection that more tourists are coming to this province.”

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