Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Tourist arrivals top 1 million for first half of 2008

Tourist arrivals top 1 million for first half of 2008

Tourist arrivals top 1 million for first half of 2008

Tourism officials are confident of breaking the 2 million mark by year’s end, despite tensions over Preah Vihear

Heng Chivoan

Tourist sightsee along the main walkway at Angkor Wat.

D

espite warnings of potential unrest, international visitor arrivals have reached over a million for the first six months of 2008, representing a 13 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Tourism’s Statistical Report.

“The number of tourist arrivals in Cambodia is still growing despite border problems with Thailand,” said Kong Sopheareak, the ministry’s director of the Statistics and Tourism Information Department.

“I think the temple tension does not affect the tourists’ arrivals,” said Suos Yara, deputy director general of Cambodia National Tourist Authority.

He said he expects at least 2.3 million tourists by the end of 2008.

“We don’t have any formula to calculate the benefits from tourism, but [the World Trade Organisation] estimates that a single tourist spends around US$600 to US$700 in Cambodia,” Suos Yara said.

Ho Vandy, president of Cambodian Association of Travel Agents, said, “Tourist arrivals declined in June for three reasons: the high price of transportation, the election in Cambodia and the temple confrontation.”

Tourist arrivals declined from about 150,000 in May to 130,000 in June, according to the latest Tourism Statistical Report.

Ho Vandy partially blamed widespread media coverage of the temple dispute for scaring tourists away, warning that many may yet cancel their holidays or change their destinations.

He recommended that the government host a press conference to talk about the situation at Preah Vihear temple and project an image of safety and stability to overseas tourism markets, perhaps enlisting the aid of Cambodian embassies.

MOST VIEWED

  • Diplomatic passports issued to foreigners to be annulled

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation will move to annul diplomatic passports issued to those not born in Cambodia. Analysts say the move may be in relation to reports that former Thai prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra used a Cambodian passport to register as

  • The hairy little heroes saving many lives in rural Cambodia

    IN RURAL Siem Reap province, rats dare to tread where no person will, as these hairy little heroes place their lives on the line each day for the good of the local community. The rodents are the most important members of a special team, leading

  • Hun Sen warns Irish MP of EBA ‘mistake’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday told former Irish premier Enda Kenny, still a member of the EU nation’s parliament, that the 28-nation bloc should not make a “third mistake” regarding Cambodia by using the preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement to “take 16 million

  • PM warns EU and opposition on 34th anniversary of his rule

    HUN Sen reached the milestone of 34 years as Cambodian prime minister on Monday and used the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ring road around Phnom Penh to tell the international community that putting sanctions on the Kingdom meant killing the opposition. “Please don’t forget