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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Int'l visitors to Cambodia's Angkor heritage site up 23 pct in 2011

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's Angkor Wat temples, one of the world heritage sites, attracted 1.6 million foreign visitors in 2011, an increase of 23 percent from 1.3 million a year earlier, according to the statistics of Siem Reap provincial tourism department on Tuesday.

Among the top ten countries visiting the temples, South Korea was ranked first with 265,000 visitors, up 31 percent; Vietnam at second with 251,400, up 45 percent; Japan at third with 120,200, up 5 percent; and China at fourth with 119,900, up 81 percent.

The statistics also showed that Thai tourists to the temples had slightly declined by 0.2 percent to 42,250 due to border dispute that led to armed clashes in February and April last year.

"Base on the figures, we see that Chinese visitors to the temples last year grew sharply and we expect that the trend will continue in the coming years," Chhoeuy Chhorn, administration chief of Siem Reap provincial tourism department, told Xinhua by telephone on Tuesday.

"More foreigners come to the temples thanks to the increases of connecting flights and chartered flights between Asian countries and Siem Reap," he said. "Also, there are broader promotions of Cambodia's tourism potentials to the world."

Siem Reap's Angkor archeological park is the country's largest cultural tourism destination; It is located some 315 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

The entrance fees to visit the Angkor archeological site is 20 U.S. dollars a day for a foreign visitor, 40 U.S. dollars for a three-day visit and 60 U.S. dollars for a weeklong visit, said Chhoeuy Chhorn.

The tourism industry is one of the main four pillars supporting the Cambodian economy. The others are garment industry, agriculture and real estates.

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