SIEM REAP – Cambodia is planning to build a new urban centre 60km east of Siem Reap city as part of the province’s tourism master plan to combat falling visitor numbers to the UNESCO-listed Angkor Wat.
Tourism Minister Thong Khon said the new city “will attract tourists to the province” in a bid to boost international visitor numbers to the province’s landmark attraction, Angkor Wat, Khmer Times reported.
The new city, which will have its own international airport, will help “diversify tourism” beyond Angkor Wat, Mr Khon said.
In the first half of this year, Angkor Wat saw an 8% decrease in visitors to 1.24 million, resulting in a 9% drop in revenue to US$55.7 million from the sale of tickets to the park.
Authorities have embarked on a slew initiatives, including plans to develop Tonle Sap Lake, Kulen Mountain, Siem Reap city and surrounding areas for tourism.
China continues to be the top source of visitors to Siem Reap, where 540,000 tourists visited the province in the first half of the year.