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Cambodia Tourist arrivals increased in July

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A 10 percent jump in tourist arrivals in July eroded losses over the first six months of the year, local media reported on Monday, citing unofficial numbers released by Tourism Minister Thong Khon.

More than 163,000 people visited the country last month, bringing arrivals for the first seven months of the year to 1,284, 085, a 0.3 percent rise on the l,246,685 million visitors through to the end of July 2008, the Phnom Penh Post quoted Thong Khon as saying.

Figures for the first six months of the year show a l.1 percent fall in visitor arrivals, compared with a year earlier, to 1,086, 518. The figures include tourists and business travelers.

camboida-tourismAn increase in visitors from neighboring Laos and Vietnam offset a huge fall in arrivals from South Korea, which was the single largest source country for foreign visitors in the early part of 2008.

Accurate numbers were unavailable for July, but visitors from South Korea fell 33 percent year-on-year over the first half from 160,446 to 106,345. Arrivals from Vietnam were up 40 percent over the same period from 105,275 to 147,721, while Laotian visitors increased 141 percent to 52,708.

“Vietnamese tourists still lead tourists from all other countries, followed by those from South Korea and America,” he said.

Ho Vandy, co-chairman of the Government-Private Sector Forum’s Tourism Working Group, said the slight recovery in July had been noticed. “[it’s] a good sign for all of us who earn a living in the tourism sector, and we are not so concerned now about the slow months earlier this year,” he said.

Cambodia’s Hotel Association (CHA) President Luu Meng said the number of booking in hotels was increasing, indicating the recovery was the start of better times ahead. “We have received more reservations and bookings from people coming to stay and visit our country, mostly from Japan, Europe and America,” he was quoted as saying.

Thong Khon said he was optimistic arrivals would expand between 2 percent and 3 percent from 2008, when 2.12 million people visited Cambodia.

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