Siem Reap was named the top tourist destination in Southeast Asia by Germany-based online travel platform YouDiscover.
The Cambodian city was followed by Bangkok and Singapore, who came in second and third respectively.
Published earlier this month, the list includes 15 destinations in 11 countries and ranks them based on three criteria – accommodation options, trips and “experiences”.
Siem Reap came on top owing to the presence of the Unesco-listed Angkor Archaeological Complex. Phnom Penh came in at number fourth while Battambang took the 13th spot in the list.
Ho Vandy, secretary-general of the National Tourism Alliance, welcomed the news but remarked that Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat already tops many of the world’s lists for best tourism spots. Nonetheless, he said that “this recognition will help increase Siem Reap’s popularity widely and will attract more international tourists to the city”.
Thourn Sinan, chairman of the Cambodian chapter of the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), echoed a similar sentiment.
“This list may not be as popular as Trip Advisor, but it still helps spread the word about Angkor Wat and Siem Reap.”
Last year, Cambodia received 6.2 million international tourists, an increase of 5.4 percent year-on-year. The sector represented 12.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product that year.
Siem Reap alone welcomed 2.6 million foreign visitors, an increase of 5.4 percent compared to 2017.
In January, the United Kingdom’s edition of National Geographic Traveller, the world’s leading travel magazine, included Cambodia in its ‘Cool List’ of places to visit in 2019.
Taking the fifth spot in the list, Cambodia was described as the home of a “high-end hotel boom amid temples, ruins, and jungles.”
The magazine highlighted resorts in Koh Russey and Krabey islands, off the coast of Sihanoukville, as well as a luxury camp in a wildlife corridor connecting the Bokor National Park with Kirirom National Park.
This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.