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Flights to Angkor upgraded

F lying to Siem Reap via Kampuchea Airlines has been upgraded by the Cambodian

Government which has introduced a French aircraft to replace the old Russian

planes.

The 70 seat ATR 72 will now make three roundtrip flights daily

between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, with one-way flight times reduced to 40

minutes.

The new service started on Jan. 6 and marked the beginning of

an all round commitment to improve tourist-related

serviceszzz.

Announcing the new plane at a press conference, Tourism

Minister Veng Sereyvuth spoke of other proposals aimed at boosting Cambodia's

tourism potential.

According to Sereyvuth, attention will be given to

streamlining visa processing, enhancing security and training people for work in

tourism-releted industries.

Given the problem of issuing visas overseas,

the minister said he had proposed the government allow free two week visas on

arrival for all tourists.

Following the example of other countries, the

minister said Cambodia should be more realistic. "If you want to go to Thailand

you don't need a visa," he said.

Sereyvuth believes free visas would open

up Cambodia to most countries and would not need reciprocal

arrangements.

He also wants to simplify the visa issuing process at

Pochentong.

If, eventually, there are going to be one or two or three

thousand tourists coming into Pochentong Airport every day there is no way to

process visas, said Sereyvuth.

He said about 120,000 tourists visited

Cambodia last year but that figure is due to increase "50 per cent by 1994 and

100 per cent by 1995."

Concerning security for tourists traveling on

roads such as Route 4, leading to seaside resorts, the minister confirmed the

government will soon take specific measures to ensure safety is

improved.

In addition, Sereyvuth said urgent repairs are needed on roads

around the Angkor temple complex and the route linking Siem Reap town to the

Tonle Sap.

The great lake is another tourist attraction and the Minister

said the area could be exploited by setting up resorts along the lake's

shore.

A vital aspect of getting the most from tourism is educating

people to work in the industry especially at a time when the demand is growing

rapidly.

Sereyvuth, who is also a member of the Council of Ministers,

said he wanted the Ministry of Education to develop tourism education

programs.

In a few years as the number of tourists increases to a

projected half a million or one million, thousands of workers will be needed to

service the industry, said the minister. "So we have to prepare it from now," he

stressed.

On his recent visit to Malaysia the minister discovered ways

the government there exploits wood as a tourist attraction.

The

government says it does not export wood as logs but makes it into products such

as furniture. It is presented to visitors as being something unique and

different.

"That difference really attracts a lot of attention from

tourists," explained the minister.

He said: "If we can do that in

Cambodia we will do it in our own traditional way. That is really something that

we should look at or even copy."

For this, Sereyvuth said he believes it

would be better if the government had foreign factories in Cambodia use logs to

build hotels and furniture instead of sending wood overseas.

It would

help more people have jobs and money. "At the same time we are looking into

making resorts from wood," added the minister.

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