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Foreign visits climb at Preah Vihear

Foreign visitors to the Preah Vihear Temple increased by 25 per cent for the first six months of the year, as compared to the same period last year, while local visitor arrivals dropped for the same period, according to Ministry of Tourism statistics.

Preah Vihear’s Tourism Department reported 8,500 foreign visitors, as compared to the 6,750 who visited the ancient temple last year.

The statistics also showed that the number of local visitors to the temple dropped more than 15 per cent from 56,900 in the first semester of 2014 to 47,880 this year.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said despite local travel companies promoting packages to the destination, he was unsure why there was a drop in local tourists.

“So far, there are many tourist agencies trying to promote and setting up package tours for foreigners to visit Preah Vihear temple,” Eang said.

“I think this is one reason that might contribute to the increase of foreign visitors to the temple.”

At a recent meeting with Tourism Minister Thong Khon, British Ambassador to Cambodia Bill Longhurst, said that while Siem Reap provided security and safety for tourists, the situation was also improving in Preah Vihear.

In November 2013, the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that the site largely belonged to Cambodia, ending a decades-long dispute with Thailand over the contested area around the temple.

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