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Fewer Thais coming to visit

Thai tourists decreased by 9pc in April as political violence engulfed Bangkok

THE number of Thai tourists visiting Cambodia fell by around 9 percent in April, compared to a year earlier, as political turmoil wrought havoc on Bangkok.

Ministry of Tourism data show that despite numbers of foreign tourists to Cambodia surging 12.9 percent to more than 200,965 last month, from 177,955 in April 2009, Thai visitors fell by 8.7 percent to just 8,835 tourists.

Over the last four months, compared to the same period of 2009, Thai visitor numbers decreased 16.1 percent to 29,603. Meanwhile, overall tourist numbers have increased 10.55 percent to 884,657 in the first four months of this year, compared to 800,243 in 2009.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said Sunday that political unrest in Thailand had affected Cambodia for a short period.

However, he forecast that foreign visitors to Cambodia would grow around 10 percent this year to around 2.4 million tourists from 2.16 million last year.

Ang Kim Eang, chairman of the Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, which has 196 agents as members, said that the number of Thai tourists to Cambodia had declined because of Thai political turmoil that saw dozens of antigovernment protestors die on Bangkok’s streets this month.

“If the situation in Thailand improves, we hope to see more Thais to see Cambodia,” he said Sunday.

He agreed with Thong Khon that the sector would grow 10 percent this year because of Cambodia’s secure environment and an increase in promotions, which would make more tourists aware of the Kingdom.

Over the past four months, 53 percent of visitors arriving in Cambodia had travelled by air, with the rest by land and waterways.

Among the top 10 sources of arrivals to Cambodia, Vietnam stood number one for the January-to-April period, with visitors increasing by 38.4 percent to 138,945 from 100,401. It was followed by Korea, whose tourists increased 31.8 percent.

Chinese tourists placed third – rising by 30.25 percent to 63,396 from 48,672, a year before. In April alone, the number of visitors travelling to Cambodia by air was up 48.5 percent.

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