Visitors to Cambodia Spike After Thai Terror

The number of visitors crossing into Cambodia through Poipet City spiked after last week’s bombings at tourist sites in Thailand, according to a senior official in the Banteay Meanchey provincial tourism department.

The number of tourists coming in through the border town per day has almost doubled since Friday compared to the days that preceded it, which saw between 700 and 1,000 daily entries, the normal amount for this time of year, said Chhoeun Sereyvuth, deputy head of tourism in the province.

An injured person receives first aid after two bombs exploded in the Thai seaside resort of Hua Hin on Friday. (Reuters)
An injured person receives first aid after two bombs exploded in the Thai seaside resort of Hua Hin on Friday. (Reuters)

Friday saw 2,500 visitors, while Saturday and Sunday saw a total of 3,728, he said.

“In this low season, we normally have only a few hundred entries” per day, Mr. Sereyvuth said. “I assume the increase is due to the Thai bombings, because there haven’t been such high numbers of tourists before in this period.”

The tourism boost comes after a string of bombs ripped through some of southern Thailand’s most popular beach destinations on Thursday and Friday, killing four people and injuring dozens more.

According to Mr. Sereyvuth, when catastrophes struck Thailand in the past, the number of visitors to Cambodia would actually decrease.

Chhay Sivlin, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, said there had also been an increase in visitors to Siem Reap province, though she said the official statistics have not yet been compiled.

“Our staff have observed a significant increase in visitors, which is not normal in this low season, and they came just after the bombing,” Ms. Sivlin said. She agreed that the rise bucked the usual fallout from disasters in Thailand, when tourism traffic to Cambodia temporarily dropped.

Ms. Sivlin said the abnormally high figures would likely be short-lived. “I think people might just be freaking out,” she said.

“It should decrease soon, until October, when visitors definitely increase as it is our high season,” Ms. Sivlin added.

Khek Norinda, spokesman for Cambodia Airports, which oversees the airports in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville, said he was unaware of any increase in visitors.

“The significant variations of visitors coming from Thailand have not been reported,” he said. “It is too early to assess any impacts.”

Officials at the Ministry of Tourism could not be reached.

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