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A group of tourists admire Angkor Wat.
A group of tourists admire Angkor Wat. Hong Menea

Siem Reap tourist traffic dips 9% in 2015

The number of international tourists visiting Siem Reap fell 9 per cent last year compared with 2014, largely on a decline in European visitor arrivals, a tourism official said yesterday.

Chhoey Chhan, head of Siem Reap’s provincial tourism department, said of the 5 million tourists that visited Siem Reap city last year, 2.1 million were foreigners, with European travellers registering a drop of 16 per cent.

“Korean, Japanese and Vietnamese tourists have dropped around 10 per cent, but European tourists have dropped the most,” he said.

He attributed the decline in European visitors to fears of terrorism, concerns over regional air safety and economic issues at home.

According to Chhan, the drop in European tourists was in part compensated by an increase in Chinese and Thai visitors, which registered a 14 and 9 per cent increase, respectively.

Ho Vandy, an adviser to the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce, agreed that some European tourists view Cambodia as an insecure travel destination.

“Fighting with ISIS and in Syria is a part of the problem too because these things inconvenience tourists [travelling from Europe],” he said.

However, he predicted that regional economic integration and local government strategies will cause tourism to rebound.

“There will be an increase in tourism because of the AEC and the implementation of transportation between ASEAN countries,” he said. “We have also tried to convince the private and public sectors to do promotions and external marketing.”

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