The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has agreed to rent Angkorian antiquities to a private company for an exhibition in Seoul that Cambodian officials say will boost the number of tourists from South Korea.
The opening of the exhibition, to be hosted by the CNK Bridge Company in cooperation with the South Korean government, is planned to coincide with a new direct flight from Seoul to Siem Reap town, government officials said Tuesday.
“Our aim is to draw more Korean tourists to Cambodia and expose Cambodia to the world,” Chuch Phoeurng, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Culture, said Tuesday.
He said the CNK Bridge Company has taken out a $24 million insurance policy on the 102 artifacts and will pay the Culture Ministry a $100,000 fee to keep the statutes for three months, beginning in late June. The $100,000 will go toward the ministry’s restoration and preservation efforts, he said.
“After the Koreans view the exhibition, if they want to visit Cambodia, we have the flight,” Chuch Phoeurng said. “Through the direct flight, the government can increase revenue by a lot.”
In February, the Ministry of Culture also agreed to lend 83 antiquities to a Japanese company for a 14-month touring exhibition in Japan. It was to collect $100,000 from that arrangement.
Khun Samen, director of the National Museum, said Tuesday he was concerned he would run out of artifacts to display in Phnom Penh. “We will lack artifacts to show to the tourists, but I will try my best to find alternates,” he said.
Tea Sutha, undersecretary of state at the Secretariat of Civil Aviation, said the department received an application from Asian Airlines in April to fly the Seoul-Siem Reap route. He said the proposal is being studied. Approval should be issued in late June.
South Korea ranks second to Japan as a point of origin for the largest number of visitors to Cambodia, Thong Khon, secretary of state at the Ministry of Tourism, said Tuesday.