Tourists pass their time as they wait to watch the sunset, at a temple near Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap. Picture: Reuters
Tourists pass their time as they wait to watch the sunset, at a temple near Angkor Wat, in Siem Reap. Picture: Reuters

Cambodia's Angkor temple complex now a ghost town

By DPA Time of article published Mar 14, 2020

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Phnom Penh - Visitors to one of Asia's most popular tourist attractions, Cambodia's Angkor Wat and surrounding temples, were down by more than half in February compared to last year amid the global coronavirus outbreak, according to official figures.

About 119 000 people visited the home of the Unesco World Heritage-listed Angkor Wat last month, down about 56 percent from the same month in 2019, state-run ticketing agency Angkor Enterprises said.

Angkor Wat is a Hindu, Buddhist temple complex in Cambodia and is the largest religious monument in the world

The Covid-19 outbreak was first detected in China, where the most infections and deaths have been reported.

While China has supplied the largest number of visitors to Cambodia's temple complex in recent years, Chinese visitors in February plummeted by 94 percent, from nearly 119 000 people in February 2019 down to fewer than 7 200.

Since the outbreak began, the nation's tourism businesses have struggled to keep their doors open, Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, told dpa.

Many businesses have experienced a 70 to 80-percent loss in sales, Sivlin said, adding that the numbers continue to drop.

The industry's main challenge at the moment is the fact that there is "little-to-no business" from the "usual customers due to many preferring to stay home," she said.

With travel restrictions in place, tour operators and hotels are trying to boost domestic tour programmes and attract locals with low prices and attractive packages, according to Sivlin.

"We are doing this to keep some business flowing," she added.

DPA

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