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Cambodia and Vietnam to open three new crossings

Cambodia and Vietnam to open three new crossings

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090605_14.jpg

Ministry of Tourism says additional border crossings opening in July will help to boost arrivals, as data shows 34 percent rise in visitors from Vietnam up to April

Photo by: SOVANN PHILONG

Traders cross the Vietnam-Cambodia border at Bavet in Svay Rieng province. The Ministry of Tourism said Thursday that Cambodia will open three new borders with its neighbour next month.

MINISTER of Tourism Thong Khon said on Thursday that three new border crossings would be opened with Vietnam next month in a measure designed to attract more tourists.

Speaking at the close of a tourism workshop in Phnom Penh, the minister said the three crossings would be at Dak Dam in Ratanakkiri province, Trapaing Srae in Kratie province and Phnom Den in Takeo province.

"We hope that the opening of the three new border checkpoints will help increase the number of tourists coming to Cambodia," said Thong Khon.

We want the

Tourism Ministry ... to re-examine the

agreement.

This year has already seen a 34-percent year-on-year increase in tourists from Vietnam in the first four months of 2009, ministry figures showed, with 100,041 visitors crossing up to April.

In 1998, the two ASEAN neighbours signed an agreement to open seven crossings in total, but thus far just four have been officially inaugurated - Bavet in Svay Rieng province, Prey Chak in Kampot province, Trapaing Thlong in Kampong Cham province, and O Yadav in Ratanakkiri province. The current bilateral agreement permits 150 vehicles to cross these frontiers each day, but Thong Khon said the new crossings would permit 500 vehicles per day.

Cambodian Association of Travel Agents President Ang kim Eang welcomed the news but said that rules on vehicle access between both countries was uneven and required renegotiation.

"We want the Tourism Ministry ... to re-examine the agreement, as now tourist cars from Vietnam can travel wherever they wish in Cambodia, whereas Cambodian vehicles are required to park up at bus stations on the Vietnamese side," he said, expressing concern that the unequal arrangement meant that Cambodian businesses were losing out.

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