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Vietnam top supplier for Angkor Wat

posted Sep 30, 2011, 3:23 AM by Dong Travel   [ updated Sep 30, 2011, 3:25 AM by Mickey Dong Hoang Thinh ]
Siem Reap Provincial Tourism Department estimates the temple complex, Angkor Wat, attracted 1,048,158 visits, January to August representing an improvement of 24.36% from 842,873 visits over the first eight months of 2010. The department administrative director, Chhoeuy Chhorn, said Asian tourists, particularly from neigbouring Vietnam, lifted the performance dramatically. “ Vietnam was a largest source market with 188,064 trips in the first eight months increasing 37.5%, followed by South Korea and China that ranked second and third,” Mr Chhorn said.

“Another factor was the increase in direct flights from South Korea and China,” he said. “There were 28 charter flights in August alone.”

The town authorities base their statistics on the entrance fees to Angkor Wat that are US$20 for international visitors per day, US$40 for a three-day visit, and US$60 for a week visit. A company collects the tax and very little of it is ploughed back to improve the livelihood of village communities surrounding the famous temples. Villagers live in poverty while tourism benefits just a small minority of individuals who secured the franchise through their connections.

The government claims the tourism industry is one of the main industries supporting Cambodia’s economy, but the benefits are garnered by corporations and private companies.

Last year, Siem Reap received 2,508,289 million visits generating US$1.75 billion in revenue, up 16.03% from 2,161,577 visits earning US$1.56 billion. It has golf courses, five-star hotels, and spa resorts, but just a few kilometres from the tourist Mecca, villagers get by without electricity or adequate water supply.

The Angkor archeological park is the Cambodia’s largest cultural tourism destination and a showcase of Khmer architecture, 315 km from the capital Phnom Penh. The temple complex that includes Angkor Wat was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1992.

Source: TTRW