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Temple city crowned top Asian destination

Visitors wander through the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat.
Visitors wander through the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat. Hong Menea

Temple city crowned top Asian destination

Travel-planning website TripAdvisor has ranked Siem Reap as the top destination in Asia and fifth best travel destination worldwide in its annual Traveller’s Choice Destination awards, which could translate into more tourist visits, experts said yesterday.

Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said the publicity generated by the top-position ranking on the popular internet site could encourage more international tourists to visit Cambodia to see the Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap.

“I hope that other online travel advisers or TV channels will give [Angkor Wat] the same rating and that the masterpiece of the Khmer Empire will get more and more famous around the world, not just in the Asia-Pacific [region],” he said.

Thy Khieu, head of the Siem Reap-based Angkor Tourism Guide Association, said TripAdvisor’s selection of Siem Reap as the top tourist destination in Asia affirms the positive experience that tourists have when visiting the city and its Angkor-era temples.

“If our service was very bad, if we were not friendly, and if we did not do a good job then TripAdvisor could not give us a good rating,” he said. “But people in this country are very friendly, warm and welcoming, and the service is all good in Cambodia.”

Khieu said he hopes the ranking will not only attract more travellers, but also encourage them to plan longer trips. He said tourists typically spend two weeks in the neighbouring countries of Thailand and Vietnam, but only about three days in Cambodia.

“We want tourists to stay and visit Cambodia for 10 days at least, and to not only visit Siem Reap and Angkor Wat, but to also go to Battambang, Phnom Penh, Sihanoukville, Mondulkiri, Ratanakkiri, and so on,” he said.

TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice awards, released on Tuesday, are determined using an algorithm that takes into account the quantity and quality or reviews and ratings on TripAdvisor for hotels, restaurants and attractions in destinations worldwide, gathered over a 12-month period, as well as traveller booking interest.

Siem Reap ranked first among destinations in Asia, with Hanoi and Ubud, Bali, named as runners-up.

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