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Chinese tourists flock to Angkor Wat
Chinese travellers to Angkor Wat has experienced a sharp increase.
A sharp increase in Chinese travellers to Angkor Wat, Cambodia's main tourist attraction, has triggered a scramble for accommodation there among foreign visitors, a senior government official said Saturday. 
Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said he has heard complaints from tour agencies during recent tourism forums in Japan and South Korea that they are unable to book hotels in Siem Reap, home to the ancient Hindu and Buddhist temple complexes in northern Cambodia.
"In recent years, Chinese tourists have been looking for luxury and boutique hotels, which are also wanted by Japanese and Korean travellers," he said.
There are less than 30 luxury and boutique hotels in Siem Reap out of 170 hotels and 250 guesthouses in the area, according to Thong Khon.
Statistics from the Tourism Office in Siem Reap show that the number of Chinese tourists to Siem Reap rose 14.87% in the first eight months of this year to 208,180, while the number of Japanese was up by 4.55% to 99,399 and that of South Koreans up 2.94% to 250,926.
Sathol Miura, representative of Japan's APEX travel agency in Siem Reap, said his agency is struggling to get rooms for its customers.
He said Chinese tours are aggressively paying in advance to the hotels in order to book rooms for their customers.
Ho Vandy, head of the private tourism sector in Cambodia, said direct flights between China and Cambodia have increased in the past two years, as part of the government's efforts to attract Chinese visitors.
He said direct flights to Siem Reap are now available from three Chinese cities -- Guangzhou, Nanning and Shanghai.
Thong Khon said investors should consider building more hotels in Siem Reap.
Tourism is the second-largest revenue for Cambodia after the garment industry.
  Source: Bangkok Post

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