04 September 2014
Cambodia’s Siem Riep International Airport is a model of efficiency. Several stations process visas on arrival, their aim to get the visitor in so they can spend their money in their country, as much as possible as quickly as possible. “No photo? No problem, we’ll do it anyway.” Within five minutes you are through, visa in hand.
And this was not because we were alone. Far from it. The plane was packed. The airport saw nearly 2.7 million passengers in 2013 and is projected to do well over three million this year.
No wonder the tourism business is booming, up fourfold from a million visitors 10 years ago. Many spend time at Angkor Watt near Siem Riep. It helps having the world’s largest religious temples, but you still have to make it easy and enjoyable for people to visit. While temple-gazing is the hook, many stay longer, hanging out in the city’s markets, restaurants, cooking classes, museums, and, if my wife would let me, massage parlours.
… “Cambodia shows us what can be achieved when ordinary people have the opportunity to benefit from the influx of tourists,” says Barry Desker of Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. “Most of its tourists are independent travellers, with many budget travellers.”
IDSS / RSIS / Online
Last updated on 04/09/2014