TWICE as many foreign tourists entered Cambodia through Chom International Gateway in Oddar Meanchey province during July, compared with any month in recent memory, officials said yesterday.
“We are surprised at the number of foreign tourists using this crossing,” said the gateway’s Cambodia-Thailand Relations Office deputy chief Touch Ra. “The number is double that of any month before.”
Some 1,000 foreign tourists crossed into Cambodia through the Chom International Gate in July, figures show. Half that number of foreign visitors made the crossing in June, which had been the previous high for tourist arrivals, he said. “I have never seen this many people” at Chom, Touch Ra said.
Chom International Gateway is located in Anlong Veng district, Oddar Meanchey province, which was once a Khmer Rouge stronghold, governed by Ta Mok.
Anlong Veng district governor Yim Phanna called yesterday for more foreign tourists to come to his district to learn about Khmer Rouge historical sites.
“We are working to maintain the houses and important sites of former Khmer Rouge leaders, but it is difficult. We don’t have the ability to improve the sites,” he said.
“We are protecting them first and preventing them from being confiscated. We will develop them later.”
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said development at the sites would be carried out after a master plan was completed.
“We have more work to do in order to develop places in Anlong Veng for tourists to visit,” he said. “We are working on master plan for these sites, and then we will carry out improvements.”
The surge in arrivals through the Chom International Gateway mirrored a general rise in tourist coming to the Kingdom, he said.
“We would have more than this if Thailand had no internal disputes,” the minister said.