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Govt seeks to boost tourist arrivals by land

Govt seeks to boost tourist arrivals by land

CAMBODIA is simplifying procedures at border crossings in order to boost the number of tourists arriving by land to over a million visitors per year, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said Wednesday.

Streamlining requirements for vehicles crossing the border was a particular goal in the ministry’s bid to raise the number of visitors to Cambodia, he said at a workshop exploring different ways to increase international visits by land. “We are trying to find solutions to the issue of insuring vehicles who cross the border, and also in processing customs documents,” he said.

Some 334,273 tourists entered Cambodia overland during the first four months of the year, with 157,708 travelling from Thailand, 163,797 from Vietnam, and 12,768 from Laos, Ministry of Tourism statistics show.

Some 855,697 tourists crossed into Cambodia by land last year, out of a total of 2.16 million visits to the Kingdom from abroad, statistics show. Cambodia had 10 land crossings in operation between Vietnam in 2009, along with six entry points to Thailand and one to Laos.

Streamlining border crossings requires addressing shortcomings in a number of key areas, Cambodia Association of Travel Agents president Ang Kim Eang said.

An inadequate number of processing counters at the border causes congestion at official checkpoints, he said, and there are still too many procedural requirements for cars and buses to meet on arrival.

Cambodian bus transportation firm Paramount’s president Sok Chanmony said that moving tourists is made more difficult by buses and cars being allotted parking at places that are not tourist destinations. “I think that if the ministry can facilitate ways for buses and cars to carry passengers straight to their destinations, the number of tourists ... will increase,” he said.

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