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Wat Phnom to seek special status under new classification system

Wat Phnom to seek special status under new classification system

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Vendors do business Thursday outside Wat Phnom. Officials are seeking special status for the site.

City authorities will seek top-grade tourist status for ancient temple.

THE municipal Department of Tourism has submitted a letter to the Ministry of Tourism requesting that Wat Phnom receive special status as a national tourist site, officials said Thursday.

Som Chanren, the municipal director of tourism, said the temple, from which the city derives its name, was a sacred site, and that the city wanted to have it classified as a "three-star" attraction - the highest rating under the new Tourism Law.

"In the field of tourism, we need our attractions to be judged according to a set of standards," he said, adding that the popularity of the site, which attracts an average of 500 to 600 foreign tourists per month, made it a perfect candidate for the new classification.

"The judgement should take into account whether bad pollution exists around Wat Phnom, or whether we have good services at our tourist sites," he said.

Despite the rapid growth in international tourism in the past decade, Phnom Penh has never formally listed its tourist attractions with the Ministry of Tourism, officials said.

Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said Thursday that under the Tourism Law, tourist sites can apply for special classification and would be rated up to three stars according to criteria such as site security, public restrooms and access to parking.

"We have a Tourism Law to help sustain our tourism industry. All services have to meet benchmark standards in order to attract tourists," he said.

He added that all provinces were welcome to lodge applications to have their attractions registered with the Ministry.

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