Posted Date: Wednesday, 9-Feb-2011
As fighting continues at Preah Vihear temple, the Ministry of Tourism
wants potential visitors to know that most of the country is free of
fighting, though tourism experts said they expect the violence to have
some impact on the tourism sector.
Thok Sokhom, director of the Department of International Cooperation and Asean, said some tourists might not understand that the fighting is currently limited to the area surrounding Preah Vihear temple. There could be an impact, he said.
"But it wiH be very short term, but [the violence] could lead to a misconception of tourists," he said. "However, we try our best to convince them to visit, but I don't know how much effect there will be. We try to convince them of their safety and security."
He said he was drafting an official public notice, addressed to international tourists, which was awaiting approval from the Minister of Tourism Thong Khon.
He said he also expected some Cambodian and Thai travelers and tourists to avoid each other's countries for reasons related to nationalism. "I think there is inter-sensitivity. Both nations, they have a kind of sensitivity," he said.
Tour Cina, manager of Cina Travel in Phnom Penh, said she had not noticed any effects on foreign travelers from the fighting, though about nine of 10 of her Cambodian customers have canceled their trips to Thailand in recent days.
"They are worried about the conflict between Cambodia and Thailand. They are afraid that the Thai people will not welcome them or will harm them," she said, adding that many customers plan to wait to see how things turn out.
The co-chair of the government-private sector working group on tourism, said that while fighting in 2008 did slow tourism growth, the global financial crisis played a bigger role. He expected a short-term slowdown in tourism growth due to the fighting, but no decreases, he said.
"It will have an impact... Mostly the gamblers, the day trip tourists, from Thailand will decrease. But the long-haul tourists will not be affected as much," he said.
Source = The Cambodia Daily