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Tourists to Siem Reap up 48%

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Siem Reap province, home to Angkor Wat, experienced a nearly 50 per cent year-on-year increase in tourists during the first three months of the year, according to official data.

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Experts said more direct international flights had fuelled the jump, led by Korean and other regional tourists.

More than 1.1 million tourists visited the province between January and March, a 48 per cent increase compared with the same period in 2011, according to Siem Reap’s Tourism Department.

About 640,000 of the tourists were foreign, an increase of about 45 per cent in international arrivals, Chhoeuy Chhan, deputy director of the department, said.

Domestic tourists to the province rose by 53 per cent.

Korean tourists were the most numerous, followed by Vietnamese, Chinese and Japanese, Chhoey Chhan said.

About 343,000 Korean tourists visited  Cambodia last year, official data shows.

“Direct flights to Siem Reap province attract more and more tourists because travel is easier,” Chhoeuy Chhan said.

It was hoped direct flights between Siem Reap and Cebu in the Philippines, launched last week, would contribute to continued growth, an official from Apsara Authority, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

More than 560,000 foreign tourists bought admission tickets to Angkor Wat during the first three months of the year, a 27 per cent increase over the corresponding per-iod in 2011, the official said.

Economic woes and decreasing disposable income in the US and Europe would not hit Cambodia’s tourist industry hard, as regional tourists had become  increasingly important customers, Cambodian Association of Travel Agents president Ang Kim Eang said.

Two big events this year – the ASEAN Summit and the launch of the Cambodia Securities Exchange – might also put the Kingdom on the tourism map, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at rann.reuy@phnompenhpost.com

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