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Grand SKV airport

Cambodia's seaside airport near Sihanoukville is slated to become the

country's largest as a new focus is placed on bringing tourists into the area,

Tourism Minister Thong Khon said. "We project that Sihanoukville will be a

well-developed city with potential in three areas: trade, industrial and

tourism," Thong Khon told AFP in an interview. "The plan of the government is

for this airport to be bigger" than Phnom Penh International Airport. A year

after its reopening, service at the Sihanoukville airport remains limited to

chartered domestic flights. Plans are underway to make it a regional travel hub,

with the first phase of a $200 million expansion expected to be completed by

March. The airport, some 230 kilometers southwest of Phnom Penh, had been closed

since the early 1980s due to financial difficulties. Direct flights between Siem

Reap and foreign cities have led to increased tourism and officials hope the

south beaches will benefit from a similar increase if air links are improved.

Some 100,000 people visited Sihanoukville last year, Thong Khon said, adding

that the government aimed to attract one million people by 2015. Tourist

arrivals to Cambodia topped two million in 2007, up 20 percent from the previous

year. the minister said the projection is for 2.4 million this year. (Source:

AFP)

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