PHNOM PENH, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Minister of Tourism Thong Khon said on Tuesday that he hoped the China-Laos Railway would help bring more international tourists to the kingdom.
The railway, which connects Kunming in southwest China's Yunnan Province with the Lao capital Vientiane, was launched in December 2021.
Khon, currently in neighboring Laos for a four-day visit, said he had traveled on the China-Laos Railway for the first time from Vientiane to Luang Prabang province.
"Traveling by the high-speed train is safe, and fares are also cheap," he said in a news release posted on the Ministry of Tourism's Facebook page.
"A lot of Laotian and Thai passengers have traveled on this railway to China, and many Chinese travelers have also visited Laos and Thailand by this way," he said. "This raises hopes that the railway will help bring more tourists to Cambodia in the future."
The minister has said that Cambodia is expected to receive 4 million international tourists in 2023 after China optimized its anti-COVID-19 strategy on Jan. 8 and resumed outbound group tours on Feb. 6.
"This year, we hope to attract between 800,000 and 1 million Chinese tourists," Khon said.
Tourism is one of the four pillars supporting Cambodia's economy. The Southeast Asian nation has three world heritage sites, namely the Angkor archeological park in northwest Siem Reap province, Preah Vihear Temple in northwest Preah Vihear province, and Sambor Prei Kuk archeological site in central Kampong Thom province.
Besides, it has a pristine coastline stretching 450 km in four southwest provinces of Sihanoukville, Kampot, Kep and Koh Kong.