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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Visitors to Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple increase sharply in 2010

PHNOM PENH, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) -- Tourists visiting Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple increased by 3.6 folds in 2010 thanks to good security and better infrastructure in the area, director of Preah Vihear province's tourism department Kong Vibol said on Saturday.

There had been 80,356 people visiting the temple in 2010, increased by 3.6 times from 17,174 people in 2009, he told Xinhua by telephone. Of the figure, the domestic visitors were up 3.7 times to 78,419 from 16,405 and the foreign tourists increased by 1.5 times to 1,937 from 769.

"It's a huge increase of the tourists to the temple in 2010 due to better security and stability as the border tension with Thailand has been eased, and the good condition roads--easy to travel,"said Kong Vibol, adding "so visitors feel safe and more confidence to visit the temple."

Cambodia's Preah Vihear temple was enlisted as World Heritage Site on July 7, 2008. Just a week after the enlistment, Cambodia and Thailand have had border conflict due to Thai claim of the ownership of 1.8 square miles (4.6 sq km) of scrub next to the temple, triggering a military build-up along the border, and periodic clashes between Cambodian and Thai soldiers have resulted in the deaths of troops on both sides.

The border issue, however, has been eased as the top leaders of Cambodia and Thailand have held four meetings since September.

In 2010, the province as a whole received 135,657 tourists, up 119 percent from 61,903 in 2009, Kong Vibol said. Of the figure, foreign tourists were up 32 percent to 11,249 from 8,512 in 2009.

Preah Vihear province has three attractive ancient temples for tourists. They are Preah Vihear temple, Koh Ker temple and Preah Khan Kampong Svay temple.

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