Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - KR trials perk up tourism at the Killing Fields

KR trials perk up tourism at the Killing Fields

KR trials perk up tourism at the Killing Fields

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The number of foreign tourists visiting Cheoung Ek and the S-21 museum is up by 100 percent this year compared to last year.

The arrest of top Khmer Rouge leaders for war crimes appears to be creating a boom

in tourism at the Killing Fields at Cheoung Ek, says the private company that runs

the business.

The number of foreign tourists visiting Cheoung Ek is up by 100 percent this year

compared to last year, said Chour Sok Ty, Manager of JC Royal, a private Japanese

company who sells tickets to the concession.

Ty said that about 400 foreign tourists per day have been buying tickets, compared

to about 200 per day in 2006.

He said one reason for the increase in tourists also could be due to the improved

road to the site. But he said that the arrest of the five top former Khmer Rouge

leaders between July and November has made the site more attractive to visit, along

with the S-21 prison in Phnom Penh.

The memorial has on display some 8,000 skulls of Cambodians killed during the four-year

KR regime when an estimated 1.7 million Cambodians died of torture, starvation and

disease, or other means.

Youk Chhang, director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia said in an email to

the Post that KR tribunal is giving the world a new look at Cambodia. The trials

have generated debate not only among Cambodians but among foreign tourists.

"The KR tribunal and its history is becoming the topic on the street, the most

transparent debate of all matters in Cambodia," said Youk.

Ty said that some of the income from the ticket sales goes to scholarships for poor

students from different provinces.

He said this year the Sun Foundation gave 120 scholarships. The scholarships were

set up by the ruling Cambodian People's Party.

Cambodia is expected to get two million tourists for all of 2007, up from 1.7 million

in 2006.

South Korea, Japan and then the U.S. have topped the list of tourists coming to Cambodia

for the past two years.

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