International tourists entering the Kingdom through the Cambodia-Laos Trapaing Kriel crossing increased 67 percent in the first six months of 2010, compared to the same period of last year.
Officials attributed the surge to the easing of restrictions on vehicles and the Cambodia-Laos bilateral visa-exemption agreement late last year.
The number of foreigners who crossed the checkpoint totalled 19,893 between January and June, a 66.62 percent increase compared to 11,939 during the same period last year, according to statistics provided by the chief of the Trapaing Kriel border checkpoint.
Of this number, 13,269 tourists entered Cambodia from Laos, and 6,624 crossed in the other direction.
Chao Mony Ra, Trapaing Kriel checkpoint chief, said yesterday that the increase resulted from the easing of rules on vehicles, allowing tourism buses and cars to transport more visitors, and from the exemption allowing more Laotians to travel without a visa.
“We hope that there will be more tourists crossing the border through this checkpoint in the future,” Chao Mony Ra said.
The government first opened Trapaing Kriel International Border Crossing, located in Stung Treng province, facing Laos’s Nang Nok Kieng border checkpoint, about 500 kilometres from Phnom Penh, in 2003.
Chao Mony Ra said the increase in tourists this year had been extraordinary, and that when the checkpoint first opened, not many tourists had used it.
During the past half-year, however, it was crossed by about 3,000 tourists a month.
He said that those who used it mostly head to major destinations such as Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville.