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Preah Vihear temple now deemed safe to visit

The UK Foreign Office has now given the go ahead for Britons to visit the Preah Vihear temple area in Cambodia lifting the travel ban that was previously put in place. The ban was initially established during a period of ongoing territorial conflict between Thailand and Cambodia. The International Court of Justice has since ruled that temple area is in fact Cambodian territory.

Preah Vihear temple now deemed safe to visit

In early August, the UK Foreign Office recently announced its decision to lift the travel ban that was previously in place on the Preah Vihear temple area and the Ta Krabey/Ta Moan temple area.

The move will undoubtedly be a welcomed one for those British holidaymakers interested in visiting the captivating UNESCO World Heritage site. Older than the well known Angkor Wat temple, Preah Vihear dates back as far as the 11th century and has been hailed by UNESCO for its "exceptional" architecture which has been surprisingly well preserved over the years thanks in large part to its remote location.

Mark Hotham, a senior specialist at Audley Travel recently shared his experience of Preah Vihear with the UK's Telegraph newspaper stating:

"Having lived in Cambodia and visited a number of the temples, the one that towers above all of them amongst my memories is Prasat Preah Vihear. Set on a promontory 500 metres above the Cambodian plains in the far north of the country, the temple's remote and stunning location lends it a majesty that even Angkor Wat falls in the shadow of."

The temple has been the source of a longstanding dispute between Thailand and Cambodia with both countries laying claim to the surrounding land. The turning point came in 2013, when the International Court of Justice took a unanimous decision that the land around Preah Vihear belonged to Cambodia and that Thailand should remove its troops from the site. Over the course of the last few years, Cambodian soldiers have been closely guarding the site.

In 2014, Cambodia welcomed 4,502,775 international visitors, a seven per cent increase on the previous year. Cultural and historical sites like Angkor Wat have been the major attraction for foreign holidaymakers.

Cambodia was initially expected to welcome as many as 5 million foreign holidaymakers this year, however Tourism Minister Thong Khon has announced that it was unlikely that Cambodia would meet this target in light of factors such as Russia's economic crisis. Officials have set a target of 7.5 million foreign arrivals by 2020.

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