The number of tourists who have visited Preah Vihear temple so far this year dropped 30 per cent from the same nine-month period in 2012, according to official statistics.
You Sovan, deputy chief of the Preah Vihear provincial tourism department, said that while interest from foreigners was increasing, Cambodians aren’t going as often as in recent years.
“The temple had been popular for many years with our local tourists. That’s why now they don’t want to visit it much like before. Moreover, now we have so many new tourist destinations nationwide, that is also causing the drop.”
From January through September, some 54,000 tourists showed up at the temple located at the northern Thai border. Approximately 77,400 made the trip in the 2012 time frame. Domestic visits fell 36 per cent to 45,900, while foreign tourists accounted for a 54 per cent bump to 8,100.
The decrease occurred mainly during the last three months, reversing an upward trend in visits to the temple over the first half of 2013.
Preah Vihear is at the centre of an ongoing dispute between Cambodia and Thailand over 4.6 square kilometres of land that surrounds the temple.