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Cambodia set to receive up to 4.6 million foreign tourists in 2014

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The magnificent Preah Vihear temple. Now it too is attracting tourists. Generalkh Picture

PHNOM PENH, Aug. 4 (Khmer Times/Xinhua) – increasing international flights and instability in some ports of ASEAN may see Cambodia receiving up to 4.6 million international visitors this year.
This will represent a  10 percent increase from the 4.2 million tourists who landed in Cambodia last year, Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said.
“In the first six months of this year, more than 2.2 million foreigners visited Cambodia, up 5.2 percent over the same period last year,” he said during a tourism-related conference. 
“Based on this figure, we expect that the nation will welcome about 4.6 million foreign tourists in 2014.”
The minister said the Southeast Asian nation is expected to draw up to 8 million foreign visitors in 2020 with an estimated revenue of 5 billion U.S. dollars.
He said China was a huge market for Cambodian tourism. Last year, the country received some 463,000 Chinese visitors, up 39 percent year-on-year.
“We project that around 800,000 Chinese will visit Cambodia in 2015 and nearly 2 million in 2020,” he said.
Tourism is one of the four major pillars supporting the Cambodian economy, accounting for an estimated 16 percent of the GDP.
Cambodia is famous for its two world heritage sites. One is the 12th century Angkor Wat Temple and the other is the 11th century Preah Vihear Temple.
Cambodia’s world heritage Preah Vihear temple greeted 63,610 local and foreign visitors in the first half of 2014, up 53 percent over the same period last year.
Besides, it has a pristine coastline, stretching over 450 km in four southwestern provinces of Preah Sihanouk, Kampot, Kep and Koh Kong.
Cambodia’s tourism industry has benefited from the unrest that has hit much of the region, with Chinese tourists diverting their routes from problematic areas such as Thailand to the country, according to a report released Thursday by the Sydney-based Center for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA).

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