Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cambodia's new $6m terminal opens in Poipet

Poipet's new US$6.5 million International Passenger Terminal opened for business and could bolster the Cambodia's tourist industry.

The 3,000-square-metre building - containing five restaurants, a money exchange and an office and built beside National Road 5, about 8 kilometres from the Poipet border checkpoint with Thailand in Banteay Meanchey province, was officially opened on Monday.

Travellers will be charged $1 to enter the terminal, from where they can arrange visas and catch taxis and buses.

It has been built with government approval to relieve pressure from the bustling nearby checkpoint, which sees around 5,000 people cross per day.

Va Chhouda, managing director of Sou Ching Investment Co Ltd, the company that built the centre, said that it was necessary to build an international-standard terminal near the border.

"Tourists get stuck at the noisy border every day. But we want to attract tourists to come to stay in Cambodia for a long time.

"This is why we have created a place where we can provide good services to them," he said.

Travellers can be picked up by bus from the checkpoint to visit the terminal, which has its own parking and space for 1,000 customers.

It is hoped the centre will safeguard tourists from being exploited by border scams, such as taxi drivers taking them to the wrong place.

Ho Vandy, co-chairman of the government's Private Sector Forum tourism working group, said Thursday that the creation of a high-standard tourist facility at the border was a good move. He wants the company to ensure a high quality of service to attract more tourists to Cambodia.

"The company must provide a good service to tourists at reasonable prices," he said.

According to a report released by police at Poipet, last year 323,705 people crossed the land border, compared with 276,349 in 2008.

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