THE Cambodia-Vietnam visa exemption agreement is helping to boost tourists crossing through the Bavet border point, with visitors up more than 20 percent in the first six months, compared to the same period of last year.
According to statistics provided by officials at the Bavet international checkpoint, a total of 335,468 foreign tourists crossed in and out of Cambodia from January to June this year. This represents a 22 percent increase on the 274,954 tourists who used the crossing during the first half of 2009.
Khun Bophan, chief of the Bavet checkpoint, said yesterday that visitors had increased since the Cambodian government implemented a visa-exemption policy with Vietnam last December.
An easing of the regulations on cars and buses using the border crossing had similarly contributed to the popularity of the overland border, he said. “Under this policy we hope to see the number of foreign tourists entering Cambodia growing more and more for the rest of the year,” he added.
A breakdown of the half-year numbers showed that 173,295 tourists entered from Vietnam – a 21.68 percent increase from 142,411 in the first half of 2009.
The number of tourists leaving Cambodia through the checkpoint was 162,173 – a 22.35 percent increase on last year’s 132,543. Ministry of Tourism data showed that Vietnam was the largest source of international tourist arrivals in the first quarter of this year – totalling 92,605 visitors.
Cambodia has 10 official border crossings with Vietnam, but Bavet is the most popular among tourists.
The Kingdom also has visa exemption agreements with Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Laos, and Indonesia.