Sunday, February 13, 2011

Visit to Cambodia Tourism Guide Information

Apart from its turbulent past, Cambodia is best known for the stunning temples of Angkor, a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are additional though lesser-known temple sites mostly concentrated in the north and north west of the country. Cities and towns like the capital Phnom Penh and Battambang in the northwest still retain some old world colonial charm. The southern coast boasts beautiful white-sand beaches and the south west and north east of the country still have vast areas of outstanding natural beauty and primary jungle that is home to numerous and endangered animal species. The Mekong River cuts through the country entering from Laos in the north, winding its way south and then east through Viet Nam.

Siem Reap town (the gateway to the temples of Angkor), the capital Phnom Penh and the coastal town of Sihanoukville are the most accessible and developed centres from a tourism perspective. Whilst the coastal area and tracts of the Mekong such as the town of Kratie (the base for tourists interested in the Irrawady River dolphins) are accessible, tourism infrastructure like hotels and restaurants is more limited. Other areas of the country are harder to access and have very limited tourism infrastructure.

Airports and Airlines

Both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap have international airports. Cambodia does not have a national airline2 and at present there are no direct longhaul flights to Cambodia. Flights from Thailand and Viet Nam dominate routes in and out of Cambodia. There are also inbound flights from China PRC, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Regional low cost airlines (LCAs) such as Air Asia also operate on some routes.

Domestic flights mainly operate between Phnom Penh and Siem Reap and on an irregular basis between Phnom Penh and Banlung (Ratanikiri province). Société Concessionnaire de l’Aéroport (SCA), which manages Phnom Penh International Airport (PPIA) and Siem Reap International Airport (SRIA), is to re open Sihanoukville airport in early. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) -supported Mekong Tourism Development plans airport extension and rehabilitation for Stung Treng and Banlung airports in the Northeast. It was also reported in 2005 that the Cambodian government signed a contract with Bangkok Airways for the renovation of Koh Kong Airport with a view to the introduction of direct flights to Siem Reap.

Accommodation providers, travel agents and tour operators 

There are probably around 1,000 hotels and guesthouses in Cambodia, and around 400 travel agencies / tour operators.4 The proposed Hotel Classification system has not yet been applied to any great extent. ‘Budget’ accommodation (up to $15 a night) accounts for 75% of the Phnom Penh hotels listed by the Ministry of Tourism (MoT), 28% of the Siem Reap ones and 60% of the Sihanoukville ones. A total of 26 hotels in the 3 towns are listed as ‘Superior’ or ‘Deluxe’.

Travel and Tour Cambodia Tourism

The MoT states that neither of these facts is true. This site is in fact operated by Mittapheap Travel and Tours which is the sole provider of the bookable product featured on this website. While their tour product may be very good and their hotel contract rates competitive, this does not mitigate the fact that this site would appear to deceive the tourist in order to secure bookings. That said, when you click to view the Tour product, the site heading changes to ‘The Official site of Mittapheap Tours’.

At the same time, there is a breadth and depth of relevant tourism content on the site. It features a range of good quality images and its front page makes clear, at a glance, that Cambodia is more than just Angkor (it also features Ratanikiri, Preah Vihear, Sihanoukville, Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh). The site has a consistent structure and content is frequently updated.

The tone of the copy varies significantly throughout the site from poorly translated English to savvy, streetwise English suggesting either that a diverse range of copywriters are working on the site or that content is simply being copied and pasted from other sites.


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