Cambodia is the only country to have two of the world’s top 10 landmark tourist attractions, according to TripAdvisor’s latest traveler’s choice awards, with Angkor Wat and Bayon temples in Siem Reap province placing sixth and seventh respectively in the rankings released on Tuesday.
The 12th-century Angkorian temples stand alongside St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and the Taj Mahal in India, with Machu Picchu, the 15th-century Incan city in Peru, topping out the top 25 destinations.
The world’s biggest travel website says it determined the rankings by analyzing millions of reviews posted by users over the past 12 months.
“Traveler Ratings are a measure of how well our travelers have liked each place,” the TripAdvisor website states.
Having two attractions in TripAdvisor’s top 10 will be a major publicity boon at a time of instability in the tourist industry due to unrest in Thailand, said Mey Mara Dy, deputy-director of the Apsara Authority, which manages the Angkor archaeological complex.
“It is amazing news, just brilliant news and especially important at this time,” Mr. Mara Dy said.
Some famous landmarks such as the Egyptian pyramids failed to make the top 25. Overcrowding and over-familiarity might explain their diminishing appeal.
“It is great news for Cambodia in terms of visibility, but there are 42 temples, so the worry is it will…focus even more tourists on the ‘stars’ of the Angkor site,” said Unesco country director Anne Lemaistre.
TripAdvisor has become an increasingly important resource for tourists determining where to travel, stay and eat.
Chinese travelers, the main focus of Cambodia’s new tourism plan, are avid users of TripAdvisor China. And high-end Chinese tourists are the world’s most active online reviewers, according toa recent survey by Brand Karma and International Luxury Travel.
Cambodia received 4.2 million visitors in 2013 and saw a 6.8 percent year-on-year increase in the first four months of this year, said Kong Sopheareak, director of statistics at the Ministry of Tourism.
The temples of Siem Reap province are the main draw, and Mr. Sopheareak said the government is aware of the need to conserve the area.
“We have plans to protect our temples…such as by restricting the number of visitors per day and are cooperating with NGOs to limit damage to the site,” he said.