POLITICAL turmoil in Thailand and border tension with the Kingdom saw the number of international tourists passing through the main Cambodia-Thailand land crossing drop in the first six months of this year.
The estimated 15 percent decline in traffic contrasted with major access points into Laos and Vietnam, which both saw traffic rise in the first half of 2010.
International tourists who crossed the Poipet International Border Crossing numbered 280,454 from January to June this year – a 14.64 percent decrease compared to the 328,584 in the first half of 2009, according to the statistics reported by Sao Bunrith, Poipet checkpoint chief yesterday.
Comparable major border crossings between the Kingdom and Vietnam and Laos both grew during the same period.
Tourists using the Vietnam’s Bavet checkpoint swelled 20 percent to 335,468 in the first six months this year.
Visitors using the Laos Trapaing Kriel checkpoint surged 67 percent to 19,893 during the same period.
Sao Bunrith said the decrease in people using the Thai checkpoint was the result of the political tension in Thailand, which erupted into deadly violence causing chaos on the streets of Bangkok in May.
“We hope that the number of international tourists who cross the checkpoint will re-ascend soon in the future as the political turmoil appears to be coming to a close,” he said.
Foreigners crossing into Cambodia fell to 141,805 people, a 13.23 percent decrease from the 163,443 tourists of last year.
Tourists exiting Cambodia into Thailand totalled 138,649, a 16.04 percent fall from last year’s 165,141.
Kong Sophearak, director of the Department of Statistics and Information of the Ministry of Tourism, said that Poipet Checkpoint was traditionally the most-used overland crossing.
According to the ministry’s statistics, international tourists who crossed the Poipet checkpoint totalled 647,656 in 2009.