Preah Vihear door stays shut

Cruise Tourism to be 21st Century Tourism for Asia
PHNOM PENH Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says reopening an entrance to the 11th century Preah Vihear Temple from the Thai side of the border is unnecessary since Cambodia has adequate infrastructures to serve tourists who want to visit the world heritage temple.
Xinhua channel news quoted the ministry spokesperson, Koy Kuong, as saying there are good roads and hotels in the surrounding area of the temple so there is no need to open a route from Thailand to the temple.
“I think it is unnecessary to allow tourists to access the temple from the Thai side,” he said.
inside no 5After border conflicts between Thailand and Cambodia erupted in 2009 – resulting in deadly clashes – Cambodia closed the entrance to the temple on the Thai side.
It also invested in improvements to roads and access to the rocky, steep escarpment where the temple is located.
Cambodia and Thailand have not settled their dispute over a 4.6 square km piece of land next to the Preah Vihear Temple.
The Hague-based International Court of Justice ruled in November last year that Cambodia had sovereignty over the whole territory of the promontory of Preah Vihear Temple, and ordered Thailand to withdraw its armed forces from the territory in and around the temple complex.
So far, the two countries have not started talks over the implementation of the court’s ruling.
For the first time, Preah Vihear temple has attracted 63,610 local and foreign visitors an increase of 53% over the same period last year, according to provincial tourism department. Of the total visits, 56,870 were locals and only 6,740 were foreigners up 56% and 28% respectively.
Tour operators would argue that both countries would benefit if there was a free access to the temple from Thailand. Tours visiting Northeast Thailand would benefit if they could visit the temple from the Thai side and then travel on to Siem Reap. That combination would benefit both countries if it was packaged jointly by tour operators from both countries in a joint venture.
However, Cambodia is worried that if it opens the entrance from the Thai border to the temple, most foreign tourists would visit the site and then return to Thailand using it as a day sightseeing destination from towns in Northeast Thailand without any real value filtering through for Cambodia’ tourism industry.
The temple is 110 km from Si Sa Ket town and about 140 km north of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, which means technically Siem Reap could be packaeged with a trip to Northeast Thailand as a trip highlight.