Cambodia tourist numbers up nearly a fifth

10th Jul 2013

Cambodia's pristine beaches and stunning cultural sites have fuelled a 19% increase in tourist numbers.

The south-east Asian country tempted 1.79 million foreign visitors in the first five months of this year, according to its tourism ministry.

This was well up on the 1.5 million tourists from January to May the year before.

It expects to receive about four-million overseas visitors this year, according to tourism minister Thong Khon.

Vietnamese visitors provided Cambodia's biggest influx during this time with 341,000 visitors, up 11% on the same period last year.

This was followed by South Korea with 215,200 visitors, up 5%, and China with 202,400 tourists, up 53%.

Tourism is one of the sectors - along with textiles - bolstering the Cambodian economy, welcoming 3.5 million foreigners in 2012.

The jewel in Cambodia's crown is the amazing 12th century Angkor Wat Temple, which greets two-million visitors a year and has become the country's symbol and appears on its national flag.

Holidaymakers on city breaks to Angkor marvel at this world heritage site, which fuses architectural harmony and grandeur 315 kilometres (195 miles) north-west of the Phnom Penh capital.

The Bayon Temple, with its distinctive huge stone faces, is another prime attraction dating back to the 12th century.

Best of all for many holidaymakers, however, is Cambodia's unspoiled coastline.

This provides one of the world's most beautiful bays, stretching across 450 kilometres (279 metres) in four provinces of Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep. The Sihanoukville beaches come especially recommended.

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