Cambodia to develop border temple into tourist destination

Cambodia announces plans to develop the border temple of Preah Vihear into a tourist site that will “rival Angkor Wat”. The thing is, isn’t the temple already a tourist destination, on the Thai side of the border?

Cambodia to develop Preah Vihear into tourism spot
Xinhua, 18 March 2008

The Cambodian government will develop the Preah Vihear temple near the border with Thailand into a tourism spot in an effort to reach the goal of attracting 3 million tourists annually by 2010, local press reported Tuesday.

“Tourists will not be able to reach the Preah Vihear temple if the potential area is not developed,” Tourism Minister Thong Khon was quoted by English-Khmer language newspaper the Mekong Times assaying during his recent visit there.

The temple’s unique location at the edge of a cliff means that while it is located on Cambodian territory, it is usually accessed on the Thai side of the border. The temple itself has had a long history of being the centre of a territorial tussle between the two countries.

My guess is that Cambodia wants to develop easy access routes from its side of the border so that entry receipts might be claimed on the their side. As it is, Preah Vihear (Prasat Phra Viharn in Thai) is already a notable spot for domestic tourism in Northeast Thailand.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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