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Tourism Helps, But How, Expert Asks

Tourism remains an important sector for the development of Cambodia, but officials say they are unsure where the benefits go.

“It creates between 250,000 and 300,000 jobs,” Tourism Minister Thong Khon said.

Around 2 million visitors came to Cambodia in 2007, he said, bringing in $14 million.

Meung Son, president of Eurasia Travel and Tourism Association, said a lot of visitors came, but it is not clear where the $14 million goes.

“We do not know exactly how to count the $14-million benefits,” he said, as a guest on “Hello VOA” Thursday. “Tourism is giving jobs to many people, especially in the hotel and restaurant and transport sections.”

The expansion of hotels is driving job growth, he said. For every hotel with 100 rooms, 200 people will be hired.

But there remain dark spots, including beggars at sites disturbing visitors, he said.

It remains unclear how money and development in the sector, especially in Siem Reap, will affect this year’s election.