Gov’t To Open Border Road

Hoping to reduce the number of traffic jams at the Poipet border checkpoint and make it more tourist-friendly, authorities have agreed on plans to open a second checkpoint solely for imports and exports, officials said.

“The current checkpoint is a small road and it is crowded and very narrow because the goods, businessmen and tourists are all on the same strip. We have to separate them in order to protect the tourist domain and prevent roadblocks,” Ministry of Tourism Secretary of State Thong Khon said.

The current Thai border check­point will remain open for tourists and travelers. Authorities are hoping to turn Poipet into a regular tourist destination.

“In the future, we will be visited by more tourists, and we want separate roads between tourists and goods,” Banteay Meanchey province Deputy Governor On Sum said.

Inaugurating a road in Banteay Meanchey province last month, Prime Minister Hun approved the plan to build the separate customs checkpoint, On Sum said.

News of the plans has sparked a rush of speculators hurrying to buy up land north of Poipet, where it has been rumored the new checkpoint will be placed. Ou Sum said it will be built close to the existing checkpoint in O’Chrouv district. One hectare of land near the prospective site is selling for between $444 and $667, On Sum said.

Some local residents are biding their time before investing.

“I am waiting to see. I would buy two hectares of land, but I was told there are still mines in it,” Poipet vendor Eng Vanna said.

In addition to building the new checkpoint, authorities want to make the existing checkpoint more tourist-friendly, Thong Khon said.

“Today, there is no lounge for passengers. We should have a suitable one at every international checkpoint where passengers and tourists can sit while they wait for police stamps,” he said.

Between 300 and 400 tourists cross at Poipet daily en route to Angkor Wat and other tourist sites in Cambodia, and authorities expect those numbers to continue to increase.


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