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Cambodia forecasts 4 mln foreign tourists in 2013

Cambodia is predicted to greet 4 million foreign visitors this year, an expected 12 percent rise year-on-year, Tourism Minister Thong Khon said.

"Last year, we received 3.58 million foreign tourists, up 24 percent year-on-year, and generated total revenue of about 2.2 billion U.S. dollars," he told reporters on the sidelines of a tourism conference. "This year, we believe that the country will attract up to 4 million foreign visitors."

He said about 75 percent of the tourists were from Asia-Pacific region and about 16 percent from European countries.

"Besides, ASEAN member states see countries in Asia-Pacific region as our major tourism destinations, especially China, Japan, South Korea and India," he said.

The minister said that flight connections are very important to attract foreign tourists to Cambodia, saying that the country has already connected direct flights to seven countries out of the ten- member ASEAN, except Brunei and Indonesia.

"This year, I hope that there will be direct flights from Japan to Cambodia and flight increases from China to Cambodia," he said.

Ang Kim Eang, president of Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said the tourism growth from year to year was thanks to attractive tourism destinations, broad promotions, flight connections between Cambodia and foreign countries and visa exemptions among ASEAN member states.

"If everything continues going well, I believe that the country's tourism sector will see stronger growth this year," he said Monday.

Cambodia is the destination for ecological and cultural tourism. This Southeast Asia nation is well-known for its 12th century Angkor Wat Temple, a world heritage site, which is situated about 315 kilometers northwest of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

Also, it has a pristine coastline stretching in the length of 450 kilometers in four provinces of Koh Kong, Preah Sihanouk, Kampot and Kep. The coastline was officially recognized as one of the World's Most Beautiful Bays in May, 2011. 

Originally from Xinhua