A BID to add three emerging tourist destinations in Cambodia to the UNESCO World Heritage list has been welcomed by tour agents.
Detailed plans outlining steps required for Kratie, Kampot and Battambang to attain the accolade are expected to be approved by the government this September.
Battambang – dubbed Cambodia’s rice basin – has been gaining a reputation as the country’s cultural hub, as well as home to ancient temples, the country’s only surviving bamboo train, a vibrant art scene and stunning architecture.
Kratie boasts a hive of endangered wildlife, with Irrawaddy dolphins and Cantor’s giant softshell turtles calling the 190km stretch of the Mekong River home.
The quaint riverside town of Kampot is renowned for its world famous Kampot pepper, and boasts a collection of stunning colonial buildings.
The process for these sites to get on the short-list will take at least five years, with restoration work in the three towns completed before then.
Industry experts predict that being awarded the titles will be a huge boon.
Anita Ngai, general manager, Viator General Pacific, said: “The draw of tourists by Angkor Wat in the past few years shows the scale of impact that the UNESCO listing could bring.”
Added Kimhean Pich, CEO of Discover the Mekong: “This would show visitors there is so much more to Cambodia than Angkor Wat.”
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