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Cambodia Safe For Tourists, Ministry Says

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

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