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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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ASEAN senior officials' meeting kicks off in Cambodia

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Jan. 10 (Xinhua) -- Senior officials of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met here on Tuesday in a preparatory meeting ahead of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers' retreat, which will be held on Jan. 11.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Soeung Rathchavy, secretary of state at Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said Cambodia, 2012's ASEAN chair, would try all its best to lead ASEAN summits and related meetings this year successfully in order to realize an ASEAN community by 2015.

According to the agenda, the ASEAN senior officials would discuss ASEAN connectivity including Thailand's non-paper on ASEAN plus 3 partnerships on connectivity, information paper on the 15 priority projects of the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity, and ASEAN Institute for Peace and Reconciliation.

Moreover, they would talk on the implementation of the declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DoC) including the results of the ASEAN senior officials meeting working group on regional Code of Conduct (CoC) in the South China Sea, Singapore's proposal for a Track II Workshop on Maritime Ecosystems and Biodiversity, and 4th ASEAN-China senior officials meeting on the DoC and the 7th ASEAN-China Joint Working Group on the CoC.

The officials would also debate on the implementation of the ASEAN Charter including the ASEAN Declaration on Human Rights.

Finally, they would discuss about Timor-Leste's membership in the ASEAN.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
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Cambodia Angkor Air plans flights to Seoul

By May Kunmakara

National carrier Cambodia Angkor Air (CAA) will introduce direct flights to South Korea sometime in the first quarter, a civil aviation official has claimed.

“We began planning our flights between Siem Reap and Incheon International Airport [near Seoul] in the first quarter after we conducted market surveys showing that Korean tourists had high potential compared to others,” said Soy Sokhan, the undersecretary of state at the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation.

He said CAA will operate regular direct flights on its Airbus 321, which can accommodate about 186 passengers.

The airline plans to expand its direct-flight options to include some major cities in China this year as well, he said.

CAA recently began flying direct between Siem Reap and Sihanoukville three times a week.

Officials at CAA could not be reached for comment.
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