As the tour and travel industry in Cambodia and across the world is looking forward to a strong revival this year, Siem Reap has figured among the top five trending tourism destinations for 2023 in a recent survey.

Siem Reap, the home to the 12th century Angkor Thom royal, figures at the fourth spot in the list. Interestingly, among the 10 top trending destinations, three are in the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), which shows the interest of global travellers in the region, according to Tripadvisor which operates online travel agencies, comparison shopping websites, and mobile apps with user-generated content.

Considered a jewel of Southeast Asia, Siem Reap is home to the world-famous Angkor Wat and boasts ancient as well as modern attractions.

According to a report of the Tourism Ministry released last week, during the Lunar New Year celebrations, Siem Reap received over 105,400 visitors with more than 15,400 being foreigners. However, Preah Sihanouk came ahead of Siem Reap as it received more than 296,000 travellers with 7,300 plus foreigners between January 21 and January 24. Battambang came third with over 102,000 travellers, the report added.

While Cuba heads the list of top trending destinations, Hoi An of Vietnam is second, Mauritius third, Siem Reap (Cambodia) fourth, Chiang Mai of Thailand fifth, Grand Cayman of the Caribbean sixth, Fes in Morocco seventh, Baku in Azerbaijan eighth, Kathmandu (the Nepal capital) ninth and Krakow in Poland appears on the tenth spot in Tripadvisor’s top trending destinations report for 2023, released recently at its headquarters in Needham, Massachusetts, United States.

Top trending destinations in the world for 2023 reveal tourism hotspots with the greatest year-over-year growth in the interest shown by tourists on the Tripadvisor portal.

“We saw a resurgence of travel demand in 2022, and the outlook for this year is bright,” said Sarah Firshein, the head of the editorial at Tripadvisor.

“Long-haul trips have made a comeback, and we are seeing a lot of Americans excited to plan trips to Asia and the Pacific region for the first time in several years. Cities, like Paris and London, which may have taken a backseat to less populous destinations throughout the pandemic, are back on travellers’ minds, while places like Alaska and Cuba are also piquing a lot of interest,” Sarah Firshein remarked.

The list of top trending destinations is prepared by Tripadvisor on the basis of reviews provided by travellers over a 12-month period between November 1 and October 31.

The US-based travel site Tripadvisor claims to be the world’s largest travel guidance platform with more than one billion reviews and opinions of nearly 8 million businesses. As a travel guidance company, it is available in 43 markets and 22 languages.

However, the administration of Siem Reap is striving to revive and restore the destination’s pre-Covid-19 glory by organizing various events and activities.

Due to the revival of tourist arrivals from abroad, the past year was much better compared with 2020 and 2021, when the provincial tourism sector welcomed about 280,000 international visitors, said Pin Prak, Deputy Governor of Siem Reap Province.

To promote the revival of tourism, the three-day rice festival, which also features local products, especially food items made from rice, is being organised at the Royal Garden along the Siem Reap River. Another high feature of the festival, which will conclude on January 29, is the expected participation of Miss Planet International from 26 countries. This was stated by the Deputy Governor of Siem Reap Province while opening the rice festival, according to reports.

Terming the Siem Reap-Angkor area as an important factor behind the expansion of tourism in Cambodia during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, the Deputy Governor reportedly said the development of Siem Reap tourism as a “tourist destination, quality, safety and environment” required the implementation of the Siem Reap Tourism Development Master Plan 2021-35 in an effective manner.

Among the top attractions of Siem Reap, according to a majority of tourism websites are the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat, the world’s largest complex of stone temples that is spread over a 152.6 hectares site, other ancient remnants of Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm, the religious site of Banteay Srei where detailed rock cut iconography in the shrine depicts Cambodia’s Hindu past, ruins of the walled city of Angkor Thom which housed more than one million people in its days of glory, the Angkor Archaeological Park that is famous for the world’s largest religious sites located on 160 hectares, the Cambodia Landmine Museum and  Angkor National Museum among others.


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