Cambodia, Myanmar agree on tourist air links | india | Hindustan Times
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Cambodia, Myanmar agree on tourist air links

india Updated: May 23, 2007 14:35 IST

Reuters
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Cambodia and Myanmar have agreed to direct flights between the two countries, home to some of Southeast Asia's greatest cultural treasures, Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said on Wednesday.

"There will be direct flights from Bagan and Mandalay, which are Myanmar's main tourist destinations, to Siem Reap," he told reporters, referring to the tourist town near Cambodia's famed Angkor temples.

"We have the same culture, same civilizations as we're Buddhists," he said. "We need to have direct flights so that we can attract more international tourists to visit our two countries."

Hor Namhong, who accompanied Prime Minister Hun Sen on a two-day official visit to Myanmar, said other direct flights were planned between the Southeast Asian countries.

The 800-year-old Angkor Wat temple complex is largely responsible for an explosion of tourists to the war-scarred nation, which attracted 1.7 million visitors last year.

Cultural aficionados say the similar-aged Buddhist temples in Bagan in central Myanmar are a close rival to Angkor, but a chronic lack of infrastructure in the former Burma power cuts are a daily problem and foreign credit cards are rarely accepted means they attract only a fraction of the number of visitors.

Airlines in Thailand have tried to promote a similar "cultural package" in the region, with flights linking Angkor to the ancient Thai and Lao capitals, Sukhothai and Luang Prabang, and Hoi An in central Vietnam.