An artisan displays silk-weaving techniques at World Expo 2005 in Japan. The Expo will continue until September.
Nearly half a million people visited Cambodia's cultural display pavilion during
the first month of the 2005 World Expo in Aichi, Japan, according to the Ministry
Decorated by Artisans d'Angkor with silk products and replicas of famous Khmer statues
- including a full-sized model of a section of the Ta Phrom temple - government officials
hope that the pavilion will expose people to Cambodia's cultural heritage and boost
"Visitors are very interested and admire our silk products; [many say] they
intend to visit Cambodia to see the many wonderful temples," said Ou Proum Virak,
deputy chief of the export promotion department at the Ministry of Commerce and head
of Cambodia's pavilion.
After taking an informal survey of Japanese visitors, Virak estimated that 40 percent
expressed a desire to travel to the kingdom. Japanese tourists made up 11 percent
of Cambodia's arrivals in 2004.
The Cambodian pavilion is located among other displays from Southeast Asian nations
in the center of the 173-hectare international cultural exchange.
A walking tour gave visitors a glimpse of Cambodia's cultural highlights. Visitors
to the pavilion in Aichi watched free demonstrations of traditional handicrafts being
made, such as silk weaving and stone carving.
Cambodia is one of 124 countries participating in the World Expo, which began March
25 and will run for six months.
A World Expo is held every five years. Cambodia also participated in the last event
in Hanover, Germany.
This year's pavilion is staffed by 15 Cambodians who speak English and Japanese.
The government will spend $1 million on the promotion over the six months.