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Angkor Wat revenues rise on Chinese flights

Angkor Wat revenues rise on Chinese flights

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A tourist snaps photographs at Bayon Temple in the Angkor Wat temple complex in November last year.

Revenue from Angkor Wat ticket sales rose 45 percent last month, compared with January 2009, as visitor numbers were boosted from Chinese charter flights.

According to the Apsara Authority, which manages the temple, revenue reached US$4.5 million last month compared with $3.1 million the year previous.

Despite sector concerns that ongoing border tensions would affect tourism, Director General of the Apsara Authority Bun Narith said that good security and the economic recovery had led to the increase.

“Tourists visiting the temples didn’t feel worried about anything,” he said.

Ngov Seng Kak, director of Siem Reap Tourism Department, said yesterday that more than 4,000 people now visited Angkor Wat each day.

“We noted that Chinese tourists visiting Angkor Wat were increasing everyday, because we have had a lot of charter flights from there,” he said.

Minister of Tourism, Thong Khon, added that international tourist numbers to the temple complex had increased by 36 percent in January over the year previous.

Visitors from South Korea, Europe and the United States were on the rise he said, touting future flights from Chinese cities such as Nanjing and Kunming as a potential area for growth.

Thong Kong also claimed that national tourist numbers had not been affected by border fighting between Cambodia and Thailand.

The statement came despite six travel associations appealing this week to both Cambodia and Thailand to end the border dispute in order to avoid damaging tourism in the two nations. Tourism Working Group co-chair Ho Vandy had said the conflict risked the reputation of the two countries, as well as possibly damaging the temples.

“We are very worried about the border dispute area,” he said on Tuesday. “If they continue fighting each other, it will seriously affect the tourism.”

Thong Kong said he had yet to receive information about cancellations from tour agencies.

The Ministry of Tourism has forecast a growth in tourist numbers in Siem Reap this year, with visitors expecting to reach around 1.7 million.

In 2010, ministry figures showed international visitors to the Kingdom increased by 16 percent on 2009, with around 2.5 million foreigners entering Cambodia.

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