PHNOM PENH, Jan. 2 (Xinhua) — Cambodia’s world heritage Preah Vihear temple greeted some 99,490 domestic and foreign tourists in 2012, up 79 percent from 55,580 visitors in 2011, statistics from the Preah Vihear provincial tourism department showed Wednesday.

The Hindu temple had been a flashpoint of deadly armed clashes between Cambodian and Thai troops in February and April, 2011, as Thailand claims the ownership of 4.6 square kilometers (1.8 square miles) of scrub next to the temple.

Tensions have eased since former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra‘s Pheu Thai Party won the general elections in July, 2011.

According to the statistics, the temple welcomed about 92,350 local visitors and 7,140 foreigners in 2012, up 75 percent and 146 percent respectively year-on-year.

Preah Vihear provincial tourism department’s chief Kong Vibol attributed the sharp rise to improving roads leading to the temple and good security as no more military confrontation between Cambodian and Thai troops over disputed border near the temple.

“More and more foreigners are curious to see the temple,” Kong Vibol told Xinhua Wednesday, “We expect the temple will become one of the country’s largest cultural destinations for tourists in the coming years.”

Preah Vihear locates on the top of a 525-meter cliff in the Dangrek Mountains, about 500 kilometers northwest of capital Phnom Penh. It was inscribed in the World Heritage list on July 07, 2008.

 

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