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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Travel Experts Predict More Travelers Asia Bound in 2011

Small Group Journey Specialist Travel Indochina Ready with More Than 800 Departures

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Leading experts agree: travelers in 2011 expect genuine experiences and life-changing journeys, making Asia destinations like Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam among the top choices for travel in 2011. Travel Indochina, a leader in small group Asia travel, offers the best of the ‘real Asia’ with more than 800 departures, and new Small Group Journeys that provide authenticity and total immersion for even the most discriminating travel junkies.

“Tourism in the New Year will see more travelers going to Asia to get a meatier experience in exchange for their dollar,” said Travel Indochina Co-founder Paul Hole. “In a recent Oxford Economics study sponsored by Amadeus entitled, ‘The Travel Gold Rush 2020,’ the growth in Asia-Pacific travel is predicted to double by 2020, closely following Europe, the leader in overall increased visitors.

“Today’s travelers aren’t shy about trying new things or getting immersed in a new culture they’ve never experienced before. In fact, travelers crave these experiential trips. Our journeys are created with those things in mind, which is why we’ve specifically focused on offering cross-border journeys, extensions and specialist trips to satisfy those who expect the most from their time away,” Hole added.

New Cross Border Journeys were designed with the traveler’s mindset as the roadmap, maximizing each trip so travelers can visit several countries while they are overseas. With nine journeys to choose from, travelers can cherry pick their most desired destinations to create the perfect combination between Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. With this option, culture, history and cuisine easily translate into memorable stories of adventure and exploration to be shared for the long haul. Choose Cambodia & Vietnam Explorer, Laos & Cambodia Experience, Cambodia & Thailand Revealed and more.

Sapa is a remote and fascinating area of Vietnam, about as far removed from the most generic of tourist trails. Six days with the Sapa Explorer will delight and surprise any visitor to the region with stunning and sweeping views of the Ta Van valley from the glorious mountains above. The minority villagers, known as the Red Dzong people, await to welcome and offer local insights to new friends to the region. Sapa Explorer pairs perfectly with Highlights of Vietnam, Trails of Vietnam, Vietnam Insight and more.

No matter where in Asia travelers visit, there’s simply just no better way to see the sights, enjoy the cuisine, meet the people and get inside than being on the ground. Travel Indochina has perfected taking the “tourist” out of tourism by offering Specialist Journeys focused on cycling, cooking and niche destinations like the Indian Himalayas or the Silk Road in Southern China. Cycling Cambodia meanders through an ancient jungle path to the Angkorian Temple, on enchanting rural back roads and quaint seaside towns like Kep and Kampot. For those whose culinary senses lead the way, Vietnam & Cambodia Culinary Discovery offers not only lavish meals at some of each countries’ best restaurants, but also turns traveler into chef with cooking classes and visits to local markets and the insider track on where and how the best produce and seafood are sourced.

About Travel Indochina

Travel Indochina has been operating Small Group Journeys to Asia since 1993. Offering journeys to Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, India, China and Tibet, Travel Indochina has six offices across its Asia destinations, Western tour guides and English-speaking local guides. Travel Indochina’s idea is simple – escape the tourist traps to explore the essence of Asia’s history, culture, natural beauty and, most importantly, her people. For more information about Travel Indochina’s 2011-2012 small group journeys e-brochure, departures, pricing and to book, visit or call 866.892.9216 to speak with an expert.

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Cambodia's Trade with China up 41.5 pct in 2010

Bilateral trades between Cambodia and China increased 41.5 percent in 2010 compared with that of 2009, official statistics showed on Tuesday.

The two countries'total trade volume hit 1.12 billion U.S. dollars in 2010, up 41.5 percent from about 791 million U.S. dollars in 2009, according to the statistics from the department of statistics and planning of the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday.

Of the figure, Cambodia's exports to China worth 56.8 million U. S. dollars, increased nearly four folds from 15 million U.S. dollars in 2009 and Cambodia's imports from China reached 1.07 billion U.S. dollars, up 37.8 percent from 776 million U.S. dollars in 2009.

The increase in trade volume is due to the economic recovery.

Cambodia's main imports from China are garment raw materials, machinery, foodstuffs, electronics, furniture, light products, medicines and cosmetics while Cambodia's main exports to China are agricultural products, rubbers, fishery, timbers, and some garments and textiles.

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Four More Thais Released Ahead of Trial

Thai activists, from right, Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, Veera Somkwamkid, Kochpontorn Chusanaseree, Samdin Lersbusya, eat breakfast at Phnom Penh Appeal Court, on Tuesday.

The Cambodian Appeals Court on Tuesday let free on bail four more Thais arrested for alleged illegal border crossing, but they kept one in jail who is also facing charges of espionage.

The decision overruled a ruling by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court last week to hold five of seven Thais arrested in December in Banteay Meanchey province.

Veera Somkwamkid, a leader of the "yellow shirt" People's Alliance for Democracy, was not granted bail. He is facing charges of illegal entry, trespassing on military land and for gathering evidence against the state of Cambodia.

His assistant, Ratrea Paiputanapaiboon, who is also facing espionage charges, was released along with three others Tuesday, for a bail posting of around $250 each.

That brings a total of six Thais who will have to remain under the custody of the Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh ahead of trials, which are expected to begin soon. The high-profile case, which includes a Thai member of parliament, has sparked protests in Thailand. The Thai delegation has said it was investigating claims of Cambodian border encroachment and was not aware it had crossed into Cambodia.

Appeals Court judge Choun Sunleng did not say why he had decided to keep Veera in jail.

Outside the courtroom Tuesday morning, Veera told reporters, in Thai language, he did not agree with the decision. "I will continue my case until the end," he said.

Defense lawyers said they welcomed the release, but declined further comment.

Samdin Lersbusya, 57, told reporters after his release he was grateful to the court. "And also thanks to the Thai media that has taken care of us," he said in Thai. "During my detention in jail, no one hurt me. And we were all detained together in one room."

Sowat Kaewsook, minister of counsel for the Thai Embassy, said the defendants would be brought to court on the trial date.

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Agriculture Ministry Issues Guidelines for Export to China

Cambodian farmers cut rice at a rice paddy farm during the harvest season at Sala Kumrou, Puresat province.

The Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday began circulating a new procedure for the export of rice and cassava to China, in an effort to bring cleaner and higher-quality production to meet import requirements.

The new guidelines focus on the elimination of insects, hygiene standards, proper documentation and other requirements for export to China.

Kith Seng, an undersecretary of state for the Ministry of Agriculture, said the new circular was meant to "protect Cambodia's interest" as well as its trade partner in accordance with an export agreement signed between the two countries last year.

The guidelines will help reduce poverty in rural areas by increasing their export potential, he said.

Cheang Kim, director of the Bayon Rice Trading company, said the requirements are not complicated and represent "good news" for farmers.

Cambodia produced a milled rice surplus of nearly 2.5 million tons last year, and officials hope to increase its export potential in coming years, especially in trade agreements with China.

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ASEAN eyes becoming world class tourist destination

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The 30th ASEAN Tourism Forum opened here on Tuesday evening, aiming at promoting ASEAN as the world class tourist destination by 2015.

The event under the theme of "ASEAN: A World of Wonders and Diversity" was attended by about 3,000 participants, who are government's top officials, ASEAN tourism ministers, tourism delegates from China, Japan, Korea, India and Russia, diplomatic corps, exhibitors and buyers from around the world.

Speaking during the opening ceremony on Tuesday evening, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said that the ATF 2011 will not only help promote tourism products of Cambodia and ASEAN to the whole world, but also show the importance of tourism in contributing to socio-economic development and in achieving the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and poverty alleviation of the people in the region and the world.

"ASEAN is seen as a captivating and highly competitive tourist destination for development, based on the uniqueness of its potentials and diversity of historical cultural relics and tremendous natural resources," he said.

"I hope that all related stakeholders in public and private sectors will jointly cooperate to develop ASEAN tourism in order to fulfill ASEAN vision as the world class tourist destination by 2015."

The 30th ASEAN Tourism Forum kicked off from Jan. 15 and will last until 21, Cambodian Tourism Minister Thong Khon said during the opening ceremony.

During the event from Jan. 15-18, there had been a series of meetings of ASEAN tourism ministers, ASEAN tourism ministers plus 3 (China, Japan and South Korea) and ASEAN tourism ministers plus India and Russia.

And from Jan. 19-21, there will be the ASEAN Travel Exchange held at Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center. "It will be the biggest gathering--up to 1,500 sellers with 512 booths from hotels, airline companies, tour operators and travel agencies of ASEAN countries and 466 buyers from ASEAN, Asia, Europe and the United States of America," he said.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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