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Cambodia and Laos come closer

A new bridge between Cambodia and Laos as well as a General Consulate in Siem Reap: Laos looks increasingly at cooperating with its Cambodian neighbour.

BANGKOK – For many years, without being extremely closed, relations between Laos and Cambodia could have been qualified of courteous and practical. But with the shaping of the ASEAN community and a greater reactivity of all economic and tourism players within the Greater Mekong Subregion, relations between both countries are warming up and reaching a new high level of exchanges. 
 
Just looking at tourism highlights how well developed are relations between both countries today. Over 414,000 Laotian visited Cambodia in 2013, a number up by 63% over 2012 while Cambodians visiting Laos reaches now an estimated 30,000 travellers per annum.  “Tourism from Laos is increasing annually, so Lao PDR will establish a general consulate based in Siem Reap,” declared to Cambodian media Cambodia Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Koy Koung said. He added that Laos is also planning to expand flights to Cambodia.
 
The new development was unveiled following an official meeting between the Cambodian minister of Foreign Affairs and a former Lao Ambassador to Cambodia. Locations are now being studied. An opening of the future consulate has not been provided yet but it is likely that it would happen before the end of December 2015, the month chosen by ASEAN members to implement the AEC (ASEAN Economic Community). 
 
Many projects have helped recently to increase the flows of travellers between both countries. In 2013? A new international border gate was opened between Stung Treng province in Cambodia and Champassak province in Laos. 
 
Siem Reap is located near Preah Vihear province and with a consulate in Siem Reap, tourists from a third country who wish to visit Laos can get visa either in Siem Reap or at the international check point,” the Lao Embassy official explained to journalists. They are also plans to construct a bridge between Champassak and Preah Vihear Provinces. The agreement was reached following the visit of Cambodia Prime Minister Hun Sen to Laos last February. Finally, Laos and Cambodia are currently working on having a common visa. 
 
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Luc Citrinot a French national is a freelance journalist and consultant in tourism and air transport with over 20 years experience. Based in Paris and Bangkok, he works for various travel and air transport trade publications in Europe and Asia.

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