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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodian pavilion a hit at World Expo 2005

Cambodian pavilion a hit at World Expo 2005

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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

of Commerce.

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

tourism.

"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.

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