Australia Network News
The number of foreign tourists visiting Cambodia has dropped in the first quarter of 2009 as the global economic crisis cuts the number of people travelling.
Overall the number is down just 3.5 percent to 622,000 which is better than the government had feared.
Cambodia has for a decade, relied on the expanding tourist trade as one of its pillars for economic growth.
A record 2.1 million people visited the country last year.
Our correspondent Robert Carmichael says tourists from richer countries such as Japan and South Korea have dropped by a third to around 100,000 visitors in the first quarter of this year.
Short term visitors from neighbouring Vietnam are now making up Cambodia's tourism numbers.
Tourism worker Ell Lavy, a 25 year old driver of a motorised rickshaw around the temples of Angkor Wat, says his monthly earnings have dropped from $US100 dollars to just $US70.
Mr Lavy says he used get two or three tourists a week but now he is lucky to have one.
Cambodia's Tourism Minister Dr Thong Khon says the government is targeting countries that are less affected by the global slump.
The Cambodian government is trying to revive tourist numbers by trying to boost short-haul flights from within the ten member ASEAN nation states, China, Japan and South Korea.
Dr Thong Khon says the global crisis has seen Cambodia downgrade its estimate of tourist arrivals for 2015 by around one fifth to 4 million visitors.