PHNOM PENH, 26 July 2017: Cambodia will develop heritage tourism packages now that it has three World Heritage sites under its belt.
The three World Heritage Sites are Angkor Wat, listed in 1992, Preah Vihear (2008) and the Sambor Prei Kuk archaeological site in Kampong Thom province listed earlier this month.
Khmer Times quoted Tourism Minister Thong Khon saying the addition of Sambor Prei Kuk archaeological site as a UNESCO world heritage would prompt new tour programmes.
Cambodia National Tourism Alliance general secretary, Ho Vandy, noted that Cambodia’s travel agents association has 300 members and they will now be encouraged to promote the three sites.
Promoting a World Heritage trail for all three World Heritage sites remains a challenge. Angkor Wat attracts the most visitors, while just a few visit Preah Vihear, which is perched on top of a ridge adjacent to the border with Thailand and more difficult to reach.
To make a World Heritage trail work it would require considerable cooperation between Cambodia and Thailand to create a route with minimal back tracking. Ideally, visitors would start with a trip to Northeast Thailand possibly staying in Buri Ram before travelling south to cross the border with Cambodia to visit Preah Vihear and them continuing their tour to Angkor Wat.
Including Sambor Prei Kuk, latest World heritage site into a tour would require research by tour operators to work out suitable routes that could fit into a price bracket acceptable to travellers with minimum duplication of routes.
Last year, Cambodia attracted 5,011,712 international tourists increasing 5.0% from 4,775,231 visits in 2015. Cambodia expects to attract around 7 million foreign tourists by 2020.
(Source: Khmer Times with additional reporting)