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Cambodia sees fewer tourists crossing border from Thailand


October 12, 2008

Cambodia sees fewer tourists crossing border from Thailand
Political instability in Thailand has led fewer tourists to use the country as an entry point to Cambodia, with foreigners now choosing to instead go through Vietnam, a local daily quoted tourism officials as saying.

"Since the former Thai prime minister put Bangkok under emergency rule, foreigners have been cancelling trips to Bangkok. Many are re-routing to Malaysia and Vietnam before flying to Siem Reap," the Phnon Penh Post quoted Kousoum Saroeuth, secretary of state for the Ministry of Tourism, as saying.

He said the number of flights and road arrivals from Vietnam has increased since fighting between Thai police and the royalist People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) broke out earlier this week.

He added that more Western tourists are visiting Cambodia, but that tourism in Thailand had fallen by 30 percent.

The official said the tourism ministry had reassured Western and Asian tourists that Cambodia and Thailand will not go to war over the Preah Vihear temple dispute, which began in July.

"We have run advertisements on CNN, and world travellers know that Cambodia is a safe place to visit," he said.

He added that Cambodia aims to see 2.3 millions visitors by late 2008 - an increase of  13 percent over last year.

According to the ministry's statistics office, there were some 30,000 travellers arrived in Cambodia via Bangkok in August. But that number fell below 30,000 in September as tensions flared between the Thai government and anti-government protestors. By contrast, travellers entering Cambodia from Vietnam rose to 32,000 during September.

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