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Over 2.5 million visitors to Cambodia in the first nine months of 2012

Cambodia welcomes 2.57 million foreign visitors from January to September 2012, up by 24%, according to the latest data released by the Ministry of Tourism.

PHNOM PENH-Cambodia attracted some 2.57 million international visitors in the first nine months of this year, a 24% rise compared with the same period last year, a report of the Ministry of Tourism showed Wednesday.

The report said that during the January-September period this year, about 1.48 million foreign visitors had visited the world heritage Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap province, up 27% compared with the same period last year, whilst the world heritage Preah Vihear temple attracted 13,140 foreigners, up 77%.

Vietnam still topped the chart among the top 10 arrivals to Cambodia with 579,890 tourists, up 25%, followed by South Korea with 306,550, up 24%, and Chinese visitors at third with 234,440, up 32%.

Laos and Thai visitors to the country stood at No. 4 and 5, respectively. During the period, some 177,140 Laotians and 137,430 Thais had visited Cambodia, up 90% and 70%, respectively.

It said that roughly 47% of the visitors arrived in the country by air, 50% by land and the rest by water ways.

The report also predicted that the country could receive 3.3 million foreign tourists in the whole year of 2012.

Tourism is one of the major four pillars supporting the economy. Last year, the sector attracted 2.88 million foreign tourists, generating the total revenue of 1.91 billion U.S. dollars.

Meanwhile, the report said that during the first nine months of this year, some 585,800 Cambodians had visited abroad, up 15% compared with the same period last year.

In a recent speech, Cambodian Minister of Tourism Dr. Thong Khon highlighted that Cambodia should receive approximately 3.2 million international tourists in 2012, about 4.5 millions in 2015, and approximately 8 million in 2020 generating US$ 5 billion and approximately 800,000 direct jobs.

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